Byrne & Jones Sports continues transformation of Okaw Valley High School’s outdoor athletic facilities

School in Bethany, Illinois, takes advantage of TIPS cooperative purchasing contract for re-surfaced track along with new softball and baseball fields.

Aerial video of Okaw Valley High’s outdoor athletics facilities.
Okaw Valley High School, in Bethany, Illinois, will soon have its own, ‘Field of Dreams’ as part of the new synthetic turf baseball field was once part of a corn field.

When the Okaw Valley High School Timberwolves baseball and softball teams take the field next year, they’ll be playing on brand new diamonds thanks to on-going field construction work courtesy of Byrne & Jones Sports.

The two new fields, complete with new dugouts, bullpens and stands will be ready for play before the 2019 baseball/softball seasons begin. That’s in addition to the recently re-surfaced track surface that opened in time for the start of the 2018 school year.

The contract for the project was awarded in July through Okaw Valley High School’s participation in TIPS – The Interlocal Purchasing Cooperative that allows access to competitively procured contracts with pre-approved vendors. With Byrne & Jones Sports already being a TIPS pre-approved vendor, the school saved significant time and money, not needing to go through an extensive procurement process.

According to David Baalman, Project Manager at Byrne & Jones Sports, the whole process began when Okaw Valley School officials took a tour of the recently completed football stadium at Argenta-Oreana High School. “Officials were impressed with the quality of work at Argenta-Oreana.” said Baalman. “When they discovered we were a member of the TIPS coop, that made the entire selection process even easier. We were then able to provide a very quick turnaround of drawings and design for the entire project.”

Work began in August on converting what was once a cinder track into an asphalt track with a black mat synthetic track surface on top. The project involved excavation, grading and asphalt paving. Specific areas for a pole vault runway and two pole vault pads along with a long/triple jump runway with two sand pits, a shot put pad/landing area and a discus cage with pad were also built. The track facility was done on time and ready for use once school began.

Aerial video of Okaw Valley High’s resurfaced running track.
What was once a cinder track at Okaw Valley High School is now a newly resurfaced asphalt track complete with areas for long jump, triple jump, shot put and discuss competitions.

Construction work on the new baseball and softball fields started soon after as a literal ‘Field of Dreams’ emerged as parts of the new baseball field was once actually a cornfield that was cleared for the new complex. The baseball infield features synthetic turf and warning track for the two new diamonds will feature Dura Edge Engineered Soils.

New masonry block dugouts along with new grandstands and backstops are all part of the synthetic turf field’s new design as well as a shared batting cage.

“Students, faculty and the entire community all are quite pleased with the new additions,” said Baalman. “The difference between the old cinder track and the newly surfaced track is night and day. And these new fields really will be like a dream come true for the players come springtime,” said Baalman.

It’s amazing more schools don’t take advantage of the TIPS coop,” added Baalman. “It’s really a win-win situation for the schools because the vendor is already vetted and pricing is already pre-approved. That makes it easier on school officials and on us as we focus on getting the job done right,” he added.

Byrne & Jones Construction is one of the largest commercial concrete and asphalt contractors in the St. Louis metro area. Byrne & Jones Sports is also one of the leading sports field specialists and polyurethane running track experts in all stages of construction – from initial planning to project completion. We’re proud to be a trusted advisor to the clients we serve, working on their behalf to offer the best solutions to all of their installation and preservation challenges – and doing it all safely every step of the way. For more information, visit

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