Demolition is finished at Pineville Elementary School, but it’s still unclear when the Pineville-Ballantyne Community Athletic Association will again call the Pineville Elementary School campus home.
The association, which started about 25 years ago, previously had five fields on the school’s campus. The property, owned by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, was available to the nonprofit for just a small fee. But after the worn-down school made it on the 2007 Mecklenburg County bond before the economy took a downward turn, the community finally saw a new campus come to fruition last year.
But in exchange for a new building, the PCAA was put out, as the new school now sits on the grounds of the old softball and baseball fields.
PCAA president Shorty Sanders said the association was excited to hear Pineville students would get a new school, but of course losing their field space, which consisted of five baseball and softball fields and a practice field, was difficult. They’re eager to get back to Pineville. Throughout construction, they’ve called fields near South Charlotte Middle School home, thanks to the help and cooperation of Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation.
“We could rebuild our fields at Pineville Elementary,” Sanders said. “It won’t be as much vacant space, but it would still be doable.”
Demolition at the school’s old campus is finally cleared, and project manager Mike Higgins said the fields have been “roughly graded,” meaning “the drainage and grading of the fields that are currently there are done in such a manner that someone like PCAA could come in easily,” Higgins said.
But it’s not the school district’s responsibility to finish the fields. They did, however, save lighting and other supplies from the old fields, which are currently being stored on school grounds, Higgins said.
“What the school’s position is, is that we are providing play fields that we need for education requirements for our students. At the elementary level, we do not develop baseball fields,” Higgins added. “We provide a play field, as well as two separate playground areas for our (kindergarten to fifth-grade) schools.”
Future development of baseball and softball fields on the school’s property will have to come at the expense of PCAA – something Sanders said could take a while since the organization typically just “breaks even” every year, he said.
The association, Sanders said, hopes to get some help from Pineville for funding, if possible, and will soon start seeking corporate sponsorships to help keep its membership fees, which are some of the lowest in the county, down. It’s still unclear how much money PCAA will need to finish what will most likely be three fields. And while the old field lights have been saved, Sanders said it would be nice to have some updated lights, which could come with a high price tag.
“To just do lights alone for new fields will be (more than) $600,000 to $700,000. It’s going to be a long, continuous process,” Sanders said. “Being realistic, it’s going to be hard to do anything until spring time – at the earliest – before we could even put up a make-shift field would be the fall of next year.”
Find more information about the PCAA, which will begin registration for 2014 in January, at its website, www.pcaasports.com.