Festus R-6 Superintendent Link Luttrell cuts the ribbon during a ceremony to open the new Tiger Field on campus at Festus High School

Festus R-6 Superintendent Link Luttrell cuts the ribbon during a ceremony to open the new Tiger Field on campus at Festus High School. From left are: Bubby Nixon of ATG Sports, the contractor that built the field; Chris Nesbitt of ATG Sports; Luttrell; and Eric Allen, the school district’s activities/athletic director.

Tiger Field, the new home of Festus High School’s baseball and softball teams, officially opened Sept. 1 prior to a softball game against the Northwest Lions.

The complex is behind Festus High School, 501 Westwind Drive, Festus.

Superintendent Link Luttrell said he is impressed with the new complex

“It turned out extremely well,” Luttrell said. “Definitely, it’s a benefit to bring a ballfield on campus. Students and parents will be able to enjoy the complex for years to come.”

Until Sept. 1, Festus High baseball and softball teams played their home games in Festus city parks.

Prior to the Sept. 1 game, when the Lions defeated the Tigers 11-1, Festus R-6 officials held a ceremony to honor the school’s softball and baseball history.

The ceremony included first pitches from Jeff Montgomery, current head coach of both the Tiger softball and baseball teams; Don Buechting, former Tiger baseball coach; and relatives of the late Bonnie Davenport, who helmed the baseball program for more than 20 years.

Davenport’s great-grandson, Chase Martin, and granddaughter, Olivia Gillam, made the pitches on his behalf.

Montgomery has led the Tiger baseball program since 2009 and is the only softball coach Festus High has ever had.

Buechting led the Tiger baseball program from 1987 to 2008.

ATG Sports of Festus was awarded a $1,664,300 contract to build the field, but the cost rose to approximately $1.7 million due to problems with rock, Luttrell said.

“Other than the rock, the project overall went smoothly,” he said.

The district is paying for the project out of general operating funds.

The project includes a 100-seat grandstand, as well as common seating areas outside the ballfield fencing.