Elizabethton City School Board moves forward on baseball training facility

Published 3:55 pm Friday, November 19, 2021

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The Elizabethton City School Board voted this week to move ahead with the design of a new batting cage facility, despite the loss of partnership with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.

The project originally was to be a joint venture, but the opportunity for the Parks and Recreation Department to move to new facilities at the old Summers-Taylor headquarters means the baseball center would be solely a school board project.

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“When this first started, there was the idea of both the school system and Parks and Rec to have a joint facility adjacent to Joe O’Brien Field,” Director of Schools Richard VanHuss said. “However, things have changed because of the availability of the Summers-Taylor property, and because of that it looks like this facility would be just for the school system.”

The school board this week approved a contract with Reedy & Sykes Architecture and Design Company, which estimates cost of completing the design will be $24,800.

“The bulk of the work was already done, so it wouldn’t make sense to change at this point,” VanHuss said. “What this would do would be able to finalize the design and put the project out for bid to see the price point in which it would come in.”

School board officials also must resolve issues relating the ownership of the property proposed for the facility. “We are still working with the city on the property itself, as it is property of the City of Elizabethton and not property of Elizabethton City Schools. So we are working on what we need to do to make everything work out,” VanHuss said.

Elizabethton High head baseball coach Ryan Presnell said the facility would be beneficial to his program. “The vision is to have six batting cages, indoor machines, turf, and great lighting in a large, fundamentally sound facility. It’s something we are looking forward to and a project that would be very beneficial to our program,” he said.