NEWS

Batter up! Destin High baseball team will play home games at Morgan Sports Center

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

All that's left to do is build it, and they will come. 

The Barracuda Softball Field at Morgan Sports Center will be turned into a high school baseball field for the Destin Sharks to play their home games on this season after the city of Destin, Destin Water Users and Destin High School entered into an interlocal agreement.

"We are extremely excited to be working with the city of Destin Parks and Recreation and Destin Water Users to transform Barracuda field at Morgan Sports Center from a softball to a high school compliant baseball park," Destin High Athletic Director Phil Dorn said. 

Field B, Barracuda Field, will be the new home for the Destin High School baseball team.

Idea pitched:Destin High baseball team may have a place to call home come spring at Morgan Sports Center

"We are excited to develop this partnership to provide the Destin High School and community of Destin residents a baseball field for senior level baseball. This will be the only baseball park for this level of baseball in Destin," Dorn said. 

Renovations expected to start soon

Last year in their first season of baseball, Destin High played all of its games on the road because the team had no home field. But this season, which begins near the end of January, the Sharks will have a place to call home. 

Renovations on the field will begin as quickly as possible. The first step is to turn in a stamped copy of the engineer's drawing. Scott Kirby Construction will be the general contractor for the project. 

Barracuda Field will be the home for the Destin High Sharks baseball team.

Last month, the idea of converting the Barracuda Field into a baseball field, with Destin High picking up the tab on the conversion, was put off until the city staff could draw up an interlocal agreement. The interlocal agreement is between the city, Destin Water Users and the high school. 

The land that Morgan Sports Center sits on was provided to the city by DWU more than 20 years ago. 

At the Oct. 3 city council meeting, the council voted to approve the interlocal agreement. 

"We did approve it and it is happening. We're moving forward with it," said Councilman Johnny King. 

"I'm excited," he added.

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'Making a way for these kids to have a home'

King told The Log how his father, John King, was instrumental in heading up the fundraiser for the now Fort Walton Beach High School football stadium. 

"I never got to play on that field, and I'm fine with that. But it's a sense of pride for me because I know my dad worked really hard on that along with a lot of others," he said. 

"I think being on the decision-making side of this … I'll never get to play on this field, but my kids might. Making a way for these kids to have a home, I have a great sense of pride in that. And I love baseball," King said.  

Field B, also known as Barracuda Field, will be revamped for the Destin High Sharks.

As part of the terms of the agreement, the school will have use of the field for five years and it can be renewed up to three times for three-year terms, for a total of nine additional years. 

According to the agreement, the use of the field is intended to be a temporary solution for the high school while the school actively pursues a permanent home baseball field. 

12-foot netting will be added

Part of the revamping of the field must include at least 12-foot netting along the first baseline and from the right outfield to 10 feet past centerfield, for safety reasons. There is a walking path to Morgan that goes along that side of the field. 

The burden is entirely on the high school to ensure the plans for the upgrades are compliant with Florida High School Athletic Association baseball stadium guidelines. 

Destin High will be revamping Barracuda Field for baseball.

The construction of the field is anticipated to cost less than $40,000, according to the agreement. And Destin High is responsible for all costs associated with the conversion of Barracuda Field. 

The school is also responsible for reconversion of the field back to softball if they find a future home, with the cost not to exceed $50,000. 

The sole use of the field will be for games and practices. 

This not a lease, but an agreement that is intended to guarantee the high school event rental of the facility on specific days and times. 

"If I drive by that place on a Thursday night, and I see it's the second inning, me and my family are going to turn around and go watch the rest of that game," King said.