F-M baseball improvements possible through state grant secured by Stirpe

Attendance has jumped at this year’s Fayetteville-Manlius School District’s high school baseball games, and the recent site improvements that are thanks to a state grant secured by Assemblyman Al Stirpe are likely a big reason why. 

The district had been in talks for about three years with Stirpe, with the support of Fayetteville Mayor Mark Olson, about possible upgrades to F-M High School’s baseball field. 

“We appreciate both Assemblyman Stirpe and Mayor Olson working with us to make these upgrades that will benefit the student-athletes currently involved in our baseball program as well as our younger players who are coming up through the program,” said Scott Sugar, the district’s director of physical education and athletics. “The spectators who come out to support our students will also benefit from this grant as they will have a more comfortable and enjoyable experience as they cheer on their teams.” 

The $200,000 grant request was initiated by Stirpe and passed by the New York State Legislature.

One of the most noticeable upgrades to the F-M field is the addition of bleachers. Previously, spectators had to carry their own chairs to the field, sit on the ground or stand. Now, guests can choose to sit on one of the two 140-seat bleacher sections purchased with the grant money, for a total of 280 available seats. 

The grant has paid for a number of other upgrades designed to improve the players’ and spectators’ experiences. 

  • The small, poorly functioning scoreboard has been replaced by a larger unit with easier to read numbers and more display functions, such as showing the score by innings. 
  • New sound system to be installed. 
  • Turf has been added to the batting cages so students can use them regardless of wet ground conditions.
  • New windscreen has been installed around the field to improve wind blockage.
  • New backstop for batting practice.
  • New pitching machine.

The athletics department is planning a ribbon cutting ceremony at the field 4:30 p.m. May 17 to officially celebrate the improvements.