Fresh Face For Field

UVM athletics announced this past March that it agreed to a 20-year lease with the local minor league baseball team, the Vermont Lake Monsters, for the use of Centennial field. The partnership with UVM is a $1 per year rent deal, to last for the next 20 years.


Originally known as the Jamestown Expos, based out of Jamestown, NY, the Vermont Lake Monsters, affiliated with Oakland Athletics Owner Ray Pecor Jr., are a minor league baseball team, associated with the short season A classification in the NY Penn League.


The team has since relocated to Burlington, where it resides today, and was renamed the Vermont Expos for 11 seasons. In 2006, the team changed their name to the Vermont Lake Monsters.


Centennial Field, has been the Lake Monster’s home since 1994, and has just finished $1.8 million worth ofrenovations. Renovations include the replacement of the former concrete general admission seating with 1,600 new permanent grandstand seating as well as new field-level seating, including six new seats have also been added behind home plate.


“The dugouts and bullpens are 50percent larger, which has made the home and visiting teams very happy,” general manager Nate Cloutier said. “As a player, you’re spending three to four hours a night in there, which isn’t a comfortable environment.”


The company that installed the new seats, Lakewind Construction, also installed the new seats at Fenway Park. Other renovations to the stadium new aesthetic changes to the concourse, an improvement of the structural integrity of the concrete and the replacement steel beams.


“We had a couple of months to get this done, Cloutier said. “We worked through the winter. We had great partners that we worked with including Lakewind Construction and all the other vendors that helped us put this venue together. We’re looking at some other projects in the future. We dream big. That’s what Minor League Baseball is all about.”


The Lake Monsters have also moved in the fence line in left and center fields by 27 feet. With the moved in fences, Cloutier said, “People get closer to the action, that was on our wish list for the Oakland Athletics that was granted. We’re all about providing affordable family fun and making sure a family can come out on a beautiful Tuesday evening and call this their hometown team.”


“We’re lucky enough to have an owner who cares about the community and wants to make sure that this place is well taken care of and that its here for the people of Burlington and Vermont and all the surrounding community areas for years to come,” Cloutier said.


UVM didn’t do any direct funding but they allowed the Lake Monsters to use the facility and only made the rent a dollar a year. Cloutier, a 2002 UVM alumni himself said, “UVM helped our cause. Without UVM we wouldn’t be where we are today. Allowing us to use the facility and help us get these things done because it is a big process to undergo all these renovations.”


“It’s a way for us to show our commitment to the community and show them that we’re going to be here for years to come,” Cloutier said.