The organization founded by Kalamazoo Central High School graduate and former New York Yankees player Derek Jeter donated over $3 million to the district for a new baseball and softball complex.
The school’s baseball and softball complex, which was named the Derek Jeter Field in 2012, will be renovated with about $3.2 million donated by the Turn 2 Foundation, Interim Superintendent Gary Start said in a Board of Education meeting Thursday, July 25.
The donation will provide for completely renovated and reorientated fields at the Derek Jeter Field Complex.
Renovations will include new seating, new dugouts and synthetic turf, Start said.
The project is scheduled to be completed by late spring 2021, Start said.
Board President Patti Sholler-Barber said the donation will benefit many students and the community at large.
“The generosity of people, to turn around, to turn to us, to turn to the children of KPS is absolutely amazing,” Sholler-Barber said.
The fields will be reoriented so batters face the pitching mound in the northeast, which will minimize the impact of low afternoon and evening sun on players’ vision.
Jeter said in a press release from the district that he learned to love the sport of baseball while playing in high school. “This project is very special to me," Jeter said, "and I’m excited to work with the community to create an environment that will inspire local youth to work hard to achieve their full potential and accomplish their goals.”
The tentative plans have bid openings in the fall 2019, with field construction to begin at the conclusion of the 2020 baseball and softball seasons.
Both Jeter and his sister Sharlee were “standout athletes” in high school, Start said. “It’s great to see them, through the Turn 2 foundation, donating back to their alma mater,” Start said.
The Turn 2 Foundation was established in 1996 by Jeter and his father, Charles. The foundation works with youth in Kalamazoo, New York and Florida to promote healthy lifestyles away from drugs and alcohol.
Jeter, a five-time World Series champion with the Yankees, retired from Major League Baseball in 2014. He is a New Jersey native who grew up in Kalamazoo and graduated from Kalamazoo Central in 1992.