PAYNESVILLE -- The Paynesville baseball field has gotten a 1-million-dollar face lift over the summer.

After being one of two schools to receive federal grant money to build a safe room, construction on the facility is nearly finished.

Chris Stanley is the President of the Paynesville Baseball Club. He says the original idea was to build a grandstand, but took on a whole new form.

"There is several hundred people outside in the middle of the summer in this area, we thought this would be a perfect spot to build a storm shelter if we were going to build something for the community," says Stanley.

Planning for the new multipurpose facility began about four years ago.

Robert Huot is the superintendent of the Paynesville school district. He says the facility is a great way to help protect students, in unpredictable Minnesota weather.

"When it's completed we will have a safe place for our students, staff an community to go during severe weather," says Huot.

Once completed, Stanley says they hope to use the facility for other events such as tournaments, concerts or even graduation.

"This is a beautiful facility and we want to use it as much as we can," says Stanley.

Board Member Bruce Stang says while the stadium is located on school grounds it was a community effort.

"The school had a small part of it, it's on school property, the city had part of it, the township, private donations, without their support this wouldn't be possible," says Stang.

The federal government contributed $461,633 toward the project, with a 25 percent local match of $153,878. The money was secured by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

The project is expected to be completed before winter.


Construction is nearly complete on the new 1-million-dollar baseball stadium and storm shelter. (Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON News)