The Biloxi baseball stadium will not be completed until August of 2015. The original completion date was scheduled for next April. The new Biloxi baseball team will have to find a place to play home games for next year in April, May, June, and July. The question is: where will they play?
Biloxi officials say don't expect the team to be playing their home games in any local high school or junior college stadium, because those won't meet the league's standards. Team owners say there’s nothing to worry about, because there are two sides to this story. Friday, the city announced the stadium won't be ready until nearly the end of next year’s baseball season, but team owner, Tim Bennett, is saying something entirely different. Bennett says, “Our first game is April 20th and we plan to be playing for our first home game.”
Bennett thinks the city is playing it safe by giving the late completion date. He compares the Biloxi stadium, a prefabricated structure, with another stadium project from ten years ago. Bennett also says, “In the City of Pearl, when we built the larger Atlanta Braves Double-A stadium, which is much larger than the stadium in Biloxi, we had a much larger project with tighter time lines and we were able to finish that one in 11 months.”
If the stadium is not complete by the beginning of the season, then Biloxi faces a $10,000 fine for every game home game it misses, not to mention the team will have to find another location to play that meets league’s standards. David Nicols, Chief Administrative Officer for Biloxi, says, “Somewhere like maybe U.S.M. or South Alabama. I've never seen their stadium, but surely U.S.M. would meet those standards.”
When the bid proposal from Yates Construction was announced last week, it was $5 million over budget, so the city removed features from the stadium to cut the cost. Vincent Creel, Public Affairs Manager for Biloxi, says, “One of the things that disappeared from the contract from Yates was the overhead walkway. The other thing is the score board. They're looking to have cooperate sponsorship for the scoreboard.”
The new revised bid proposal goes before the city council next week for final approval. If the council approves the proposal, then construction should begin the first week of August.