Stonewall Jackson High School and the Mount Jackson New Market Little League have begun work on an indoor practice facility that will allow baseball players, from T-ball to high school, to practice year-round.
Construction on the facility began in early November at the high school, replacing an area that was had been used as an outdoor batting cage. The facility will include space for batting cages and pitching lanes that can be moved out if more space is required.
Will Gangwer, Little League president, said the plan was put into action after the loss of access to a local indoor practice facility last year.
“The absence of an indoor practice facility required our baseball and softball community to depend on outdoor weather conditions to prepare, learn, condition, and practice during the offseason,” he said. “With the mindset that one becomes stronger in numbers, the MJNMLL (Mount Jackson New Market Little League) initiated conversations with our entire baseball/softball community in southern Shenandoah County.”
The project will cost around $55,000 when the facility is done. Gangwer said that all of the money going toward the facility was donated by the local community.
“We’re very grateful to get this much support,” he said.
Michael Dorman, Stonewall Jackson High School principal, said this project wouldn’t have been possible without the community’s support.
“This project has evolved into a true display of community collaboration and commitment to improve opportunities for our area youth,” Dorman said. “Many individuals, businesses, and civic organizations have partnered with MJNMLL and SJHS (Stonewall Jackson High Scool) to help make our conversations a reality.”
Dorman also said the overall feeling about the facility in the community has been positive.
“Folks have been excited,” he said. “Players can go into the facility and work on the fundamentals without worrying about the weather.”
The estimated time of completion for the building is sometime in the spring, with the rest of the facility finished in the summer.
Gangwer said that donations are still being accepted for the project.