Cornell College, Mount Vernon School District upgrading baseball field

Cornell College and the Mount Vernon Community School District are joining to renovate the Ash Park baseball field, enhancing a facility used by both.

The arrangement, similar to the one that created the shared softball complex that opened in 2009, was approved by the college Board of Trustees in early July and by the Mount Vernon School Board on Monday evening.

The renovations, projected to cost approximately $280,000, include grading the outfield to level the field; installing sod, a warning track, and new fencing; reconstructing both dugouts; and installing a new scoreboard.

Cornell and the school district are planning to evenly split the cost of the renovations, and will share use of the field. Because the college and high school baseball seasons only overlap for at most a week, sharing the field is relatively simple, said John Cochrane, athletics director at Cornell College.

“That makes sharing facilities very smooth,” he said.

Cornell President Jonathan Brand said he was pleased that the college and the school district would again be collaborating.

“We prize having a close relationship with the community and schools in Mount Vernon,” he said. “Combining our efforts means we’ll be able to create a facility to make both Cornell College and the Mount Vernon Community School District proud.”

Mount Vernon Community School District Superintendent Gary O’Malley said he was pleased the Mount Vernon School Board and the Cornell College Board of Trustees have agreed to combine resources to upgrade the Ash Park baseball field.

“These improvements are much needed,” O’Malley said. “I sense a new spirit of cooperation, compromise, and commitment which will benefit both institutions. This is good news for our community.”

Work on the project will begin in August and should be finished by the fall.