Ribbon Cutting for New Jeter Fields at Kalamazoo Central
Derek Jeter, Cal Ripken Jr. Attend Ribbon Cutting for New Jeter Fields at Kalamazoo Central
Baseball Hall of Famer Derek Jeter on Tuesday returned to his high school baseball field at Kalamazoo Central High School to unveil new baseball and softball fields for young athletes during a special ribbon cutting ceremony. Rooted in motivating youth to lead healthy lifestyles, Derek Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation funded the $5 million project, working closely with the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation (CRSF) – which creates multipurpose parks for youth – Kalamazoo Public Schools and Elite Companies to bring the renovations to life.
Jeter and the community marked the milestone with a celebration, which began with welcome remarks by Isaiah Hawkes and Sadaya Hamby, students at Kalamazoo Central High School who participate in Turn 2’s signature Jeter’s Leaders program.
“It’s incredibly humbling to return to the place where my love for baseball grew to present a new space where the next generation of athletes can also recognize their passions,” said Derek Jeter. “I’d like to thank Cal and the many individuals who shared their expertise and passion in collaborating with us on this special project, which I’m confident will grow the game and inspire countless youth to aim high and make their biggest dreams a reality.”
“I am proud that our foundation provides kids nationwide with safe places to play and learn through our parks, programs and STEM Centers. To be here today in Derek’s hometown is extra special knowing how much Kalamazoo means to him. I enjoyed competing against Derek back in the day, however, working with him and The Turn 2 Foundation on this project has a deeper meaning and greater impact than what we did between the white lines,” said Hall of Famer and
Co-Founder of the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, Cal Ripken, Jr.
Turn 2 Foundation President Sharlee Jeter shared how the newly completed fields will further Turn 2’s mission to empower youth to accomplish their goals.
“Having grown up in Kalamazoo, I’m proud to be giving back to a community that means so much to my family and The Turn 2 Foundation,” she said. “Through our Jeter’s Leaders program in Kalamazoo, we provide local youth with enriching opportunities to achieve their full potential and we are excited to deepen our impact by creating an environment where more young people can learn the skills they need to succeed throughout their lives."
The project provided for completely renovated and reoriented fields, outfitted with new seating and new dugouts. The baseball field has a synthetic turf field with new sub-base and drainage system, while the softball field has a new clay infield and synthetic turf outfield with sub-base and drainage system. One of the key elements of the new fields is the reorientation of their layouts, so the batters face the pitching mound in the northeast. This orientation minimizes the impact of low afternoon and evening sun angles on the players’ vision.
Both fields include:
New elevated aluminum grandstand bleachers
New pre-cast concrete dugouts
New galvanized fencing, backstop and foul poles
New press boxes
The project also included a natural grass practice field, accessible restrooms and accessible parking.