New construction in Van Buren includes Blakemore Field upgrades

Ty Thompson
Press Argus-Courier
Beshears Construction is in the early phases of demolition and groundwork for future construction at Blakemore Field in Van Buren.

Van Buren School's Blakemore Field will be undergoing new construction and demolition with a $2 million dollar project according to building permits in the city. Van Buren will also be receiving over $2 million worth of residential additions.

The project at Blakemore Field will entail the demolition of the old concessions stand and field house. The school will then construct a new entrance to the stadium with new buildings for ticket and merchandise sales, as well as another structure for visitor's concessions.

For more than 40 years, visitors to the stadium have entered through the main gate adjacent to the iconic field house, located on Alma Boulevard. The field house was gifted to the Van Buren School District in the mid-1970s by Forrest “Red” House. In past years, the building served as the varsity Pointer football field house and later housed the junior varsity team. Most recently, the structure has been home to the district’s soccer program.

"This has been an item on our facilities plan for many years but we had other academic-related priorities throughout the district that had to be addressed before moving this project to the top of the list," said Harold Jeffcoat, Van Buren superintendent.

Over the years, the school district has invested in the stadium’s interior, upgrading its bleachers, bandstand, and press box, as well as constructed practice facilities for its teams. More recent improvements have included the installation of artificial turf and the addition of a digital scoreboard.

Duplexes and other construction

Empire Construction will be constructing six new duplexes in the 400 block of North 20th Street. The total cost for this construction will add up to $915,000 with each duplex being around $150,000, according to city building permits.

Other residential projects in Van Buren include two homes from J&S Home Builders on North 16th Street, both with valuations of around $190,000.

Dan Franklin Custom Homes is working on a $250,000 home on Legacy Boulevard, and a $200,000 home on Amy Lane is being built by Grass Roots Construction.