From the Bench: Next at Jamison Field? DeFazio Talks Projects, Timelines and Possible New Venture

By Jeff Toquinto on June 11, 2017 from Sports Blog via

For the past several summers, Wayne Jamison Field complex has seen a flurry of activity – including last year’s replacement of the turf and track that kept the facility closed for much of June, July and August. Typically, big projects take place during those months and this year another project will be taking place.
In recent summers (and in other time frames), you’ve seen a new baseball press box, a new track timing building, new lights, new bleachers, a new scoreboard and much more. A good portion of the projects were grassroots projects led by the community and spearheaded by the Bridgeport High School administration.
This summer, only one project is taking place and it won’t be handled by Bridgeport High School or the community. In fact, it’s a project most know about.
What most don’t know, however, is that the project in question – the demolition and replacement of the Jamison Field rest areas – is being done exclusively by the contractor heading up the new Johnson Elementary School construction. And that work has been a halt to any other potential projects, with the possible exception of one, for this summers.
“We’re going to take down those restrooms and relocate them adjacent to the first building (visitors dressing room) as you go into the field and begin walking behind the bleachers,” said Beau Henderson, vice president of City Construction on Monday of this past week. “The restroom building right now sits in the footprint of the building. It will be down within a couple of weeks.”
For those that have expressed concerned they won’t have access to a restroom during the buildout of the new JES if utilizing the track, Principal Mark DeFazio said the concerns are unfounded
“I don’t know why someone would be concerned that those restrooms won’t be there. They’ve always been locked before so no one had access when there weren’t events at the field so it shouldn’t be a concern at all,” said DeFazio.
What is a concern for DeFazio, and one he totally understands and has no problem with, is that due to the construction plans for projects that may have had their start this summer have been put on hold.
“We didn’t have anything planned because there’s not much we can do with so much going on with equipment and earth being moved,” said DeFazio. “The best thing to do is to wait for the school to be built and then reassess what we would like to do next.”
DeFazio said the one thing that could potentially happen is the installation of an eight-foot fence around the field due to individuals continually climbing and jumping over the fence in the area just as you enter Jamison Field. He said despite asking the public via media and putting signs up, that more repairs have been.
“I’m still putting that fence up, even though that’s probably on hold also. I don’t care what people say about it because I’m tired of fixing it. Before graduation, three custodians had to attach the gate again,” said DeFazio. “When the fence or gate is broken it drags and tears up the entrance and has torn up the track in the past.
“The only thing stopping the fence right now is that we don’t have the money set aside for it, but that could change,” he continued. “What we’ll probably do is make a gate for people that need access and a gate for vehicles such as emergency personnel, but it’s going to be high enough that people won’t be climbing it. I asked before if anyone had a better way to stop people from destroying it to contact me and I’ve never heard from anyone.”
DeFazio then rehashed his field bucket list – the things he’d like to see before he retires, but that he added isn’t a requirement before he decides to retire.
“The big thing is the press box and field house. Ideally, we’d prefer to replace the whole thing. That’s probably a $1 million project and that means it’s not going to happen unless someone comes across a lot of money they’d like to provide the school,” said DeFazio. “That leaves us with a major renovation project and perhaps building up on it.”
DeFazio said the completion of a renovation field house and press box would put Bridgeport’s complex among the elite Class AA facilities in the state. And then he added a surprise project he’d like to see done, but knows it will likely be difficult at best to see happen during the remainder of his tenure; however long that may be.
"I really think you’ll see the field house and press box work done sometime soon, but after that if we want to be among the elite facilities I’d like to have the visitor bleachers match the home bleachers,” said DeFazio.  “You do that, and you’re talking about top 10 complexes. You can’t be at the top because I’ve seen new schools like Spring Mills High School and that’s about as nice as it gets. At the same time, we can get close to that and if it’s possible then we should try to do it. As for a time frame, that’s anyone’s guess.”
Editor's Note: Top photo shows an aerial look at the Jamison Field complex minus the baseball facility, while the second photo is a rendering of what the new restrooms should look like. Third picture is an up close look at the somewhat dilapidated press box, while Principal  Mark DeFazio is shown below.

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