Construction remains underway on a new $4 million softball complex at Kokomo High School that began last September.
The softball complex will give the school’s softball players, as well as baseball players, a professional experience, and it will serve as a big upgrade from the school’s current softball facilities. One of the main advantages of the new facility, according to Head Softball Coach Mike Susong and Athletic Director Nick Sale, will be the ease of access to locker room.
Previously, players would have to change for practice or games inside the high school, with no adequate areas to put their personal belongings and softball equipment, before walking a half-mile from the school building to the diamond.
“It’s been a long process to get to this point, but we’re so excited for the girls and for the community in general to kind of utilize this space and just looking forward to all its possibilities and the future,” Sale said.
The project is being completed in two phases, with the first phase predicted to be completed on July 1. The first phase entails the completion of the main part of the complex, which consists of two stories of batting cages, locker rooms, coaches’ offices, storage facilities, and an overhang shading the outdoor bleachers underneath. The complex will include public restrooms on both sides of the building.
The second phase includes the construction of a second building that will serve as the dugout for the visiting teams, mirroring the other building almost exactly, excluding the batting cages.
Additionally, the new facility will clear up gym availability during the winter months, Sale said, as the batting cages will be temperature-controlled. With two batting cages, both the baseball and softball teams will be able to practice simultaneously without coming into much contact with each other.
“Having the first and second story, we can have softball down on the main level while baseball’s up on the top level. They basically wouldn’t interact hardly at all. They have their own individual spaces, so I think that is really neat,” Sale said.
Not only will Kokomo School Corp. benefit from the new complex, but the community will as well, Sale said. Since the City of Firsts no longer has public batting cages, the facility will be available for rent for other teams and leagues. Additionally, Sale hoped the new area would attract the possibilities of conference tournaments or IHSAA events.
Local little leagues also could potentially utilize the area during the summer months, as well. Susong was supportive of the idea for the youth in the community.
“The big impact is our little girls in the community. Who wouldn’t want to play somewhere like this?” Susong said. “We’ve already started with our Kokomo girls’ softball league. We work with them throughout the year, and having a place where these little girls can say, ‘I want to grow up and be a Wildkat and play there,’ is really neat for us and the community.”
Susong thanked the administration and school board for supporting a project that will benefit the P.E. classes at Kokomo, the baseball and softball teams, as well as the community.
“I think it’ll be good for the school. We’re very blessed that Kokomo is so committed to all our athletes both academically and obviously facilities-wise. We’re just blessed that we’ll have an opportunity to play here and [to have] a school board and administration that understand,” Susong said.