tips and hints when building a dugout

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Field maintenance strategies, plus Q&A

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Building a Dugout: Some Tips and Hints

Ryan in Ohio writes:

Hi Jim,
I am looking into the possibility of renovating our elementary school's baseball fields. One is a T-ball field, the other is a boys/girls baseball/softball diamond (plays up to age 11-12). They are in pretty sad shape with the exception of the backstop and side fencing (no outfield fence - which I would like to see).

We will likely use your field renovation ideas as a way to get this project completed.

However, I was trying locate some different plans for dugouts as we also plan on building a dugout. I do not want anything elaborate - for example something that goes below field level. Just Something basic but definitely with a roof and a few added features (ball cap hangers or stow away units for hats and ball gloves). We are planning on making concrete floors for the dugouts. Any tips and pointers?

By the way, your web site is fantastic and I'm purchasing your book. I've already got your web site book marked on our youth baseball web site. Fantastic!

Thanks for all that you do for the game of baseball.


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Hi Ryan,

Here are some pointers about building a dugout:

Make them at least 20 feet long, 30 is better if you have the room.
Make them 6 feet wide if you can.
Make the doorway 3 feet wide if you can. 

Make them at least 8 feet high if you can.

Many dugouts are smaller, but it gets way to crammy with 14 players, their equipment, the team equipment, and a couple coachesif the dugout is smaller.

This what what I've seen work best.

Use chain link fencing. Dugout seats are best if they have backs. Use a rotohammer to screw bolts into the concrete floor.

Re: sunken dugouts... there is a move away from building a dugout like this due to needs to comply with ADA - Americans with Disabilities Act. Many sunken dugouts at the high school and college level are being replaced with field level access. Costs to fix things like this run $40-90 thousand.

So, I'd be sure about the sunken approach if you go that way. In addition, with the sunken dugout you need drainage also. Use smooth piping, not corrogated drain piping. Water stands in the corragated and will stink to high heaven until you replace it.

Check these diagrams to see approximate specs when building a dugout.

Hope this helps with your dugout plans. Glad to hear the website ideas are helpful for you.

Have a great spring season!

Yours for better play more often,

J. Reiner

Jim Reiner
Publisher, Editor, & Groundskeeper
The Ultimate Baseball Field Renovation Guide


Jim Reiner Jim Reiner was a groundskeeper with the Texas Rangers AAA team and has been involved with baseball his entire adult life.  He devotes his efforts to training coaches, players, and parents of all levels of youth baseball and softball to use their existing field and turn it into a safe, high performance field. Jim's website has been online since 2006 helping hundreds of thousands from little league to pro baseball improve their ball fields. 

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