TRI CITY — Student-athletes at South Umpqua High School will be able to train indoors once its practice facility is completed later this school year.
“We’re extremely excited for our kids and athletic programs,” South Umpqua High School Vice Principal Ryan Savage said. “Especially during the spring. Our facilities are so wet. We don’t get to play a lot of games. This is a great opportunity for kids to participate. Not only during the spring, with hitting and fielding, but also year-round providing our athletes with another venue.
Athletic Director Luke Gregg said there will be “batting cages for softball, baseball. Soccer will be able to use it some. All sports will be able to use it in some way or another.” The facility will be housed in a 100-by-100 foot building, which is expected to be ready in late May or early June.
South Umpqua School Foundation and the Booster Club started talking about building an indoor facility about 15 years ago, and started seriously fundraising to make it a reality around 2018, according to South Umpqua School District Superintendent Kate McLaughlin.
“I’m just so excited for our community to have this available to them,” McLaughlin said. “It’s gonna be fantastic for our kids, when the weather’s bad or when we have smoke from fires. It’s just such a great thing that the community has donated.”
The building was purchased in 2019 for about $90,000 and has been in storage since. Construction work is currently taking place in the South Umpqua High School parking lot for ground prep and a foundation for the building.
All the money to make the facility a reality has been donated by community members.
The building is being erected in what used to be part of the high school parking lot, and will neighbor the football field, baseball diamond and gymnasium.
The parking lot at the high school will be under construction this summer and the parking spots that were lost for the practice facility are expected to be regained in a reconfiguration.
Although the practice facility will be built primarily for the high school, the school district said community groups will be able to use it as well.
“It’s like any of our facilities, we’re very happy to grant facility use to any other groups that wish to use it,” McLaughlin said. “But our schools would of course have first priority.”