SIDNEY — Sidney’s new indoor athletic training center is nearly completed, and the school district is asking for donations to help fund the last stage of the construction project.
Construction began late in the spring on the privately-funded center, which has been named Goffena Training Facility. The steel framework and concrete foundation is in place, and Ferguson Construction crews are currently working on the walls.
Ferguson says construction is ahead of schedule and the building will be finished by Sept. 1. The last stage of construction will be the installation of an artificial turf floor, batting cage netting and other athletic-related equipment. That will be handled by On Deck Sports, which has clients including Major League teams.
All funding for building construction came from large donations from area individuals and corporations.
“What we’re looking for funding for now is the internal finish,” Sidney athletic director Mitch Hoying said. “We’re looking for small donations up to the couple-hundred dollar to 500 dollar range.
“We’re optimistic we’ll have the same result with those donations we had with (Sidney Memorial Stadium), where large donors made it feasible and small donors help us take it from an average finished building to something marquee.”
The new center will primarily be used by the school’s baseball, softball and golf programs but will also be used by other outdoor teams, including football. The open-concept design is large enough to allow four batting lanes to be installed, and netting can be moved around or removed completely to allow for other use.
The facility is being built near the visitor’s locker room and stands at Sidney Memorial Stadium. The school’s baseball and softball diamonds are steps away. Both programs routinely use the turf field at the stadium in for practice in late winter and spring, so the school decided to build the new center in the middle of those three areas.
“It can really almost function as a gymnasium for the spring sports,” Hoying said. “Teams will be able to piggy-back on the football locker rooms and restroom facilities that are already at the stadium. That put us in a situation where we didn’t have to spend money on restrooms and other infrastructure, since the stadium facilities can have that dual-purpose use.”
The need for the space became apparent in recent years during winter sports seasons, when several programs jockeyed for more and more practice time in Sidney High School’s gymnasiums. Aside from winter sports like boys and girls basketball and wrestling needing space for in-season practice, spring sports squads begin preparation in open gyms and other voluntary workouts during the winter.
“Teams haven’t been able to get in the work they need to in the preseason, offseason and during the season,” Hoying said. “We just haven’t had the space.”
Aside from giving spring sports a specialized practice facility, it will free up enough gymnasium time to allow the district to turn the school’s small auxiliary gymnasium into a solely wrestling training room.
“There’s something in it for every sport, even if you’re not the one that’s going to be in the Goffena Facility that much,” Hoying said. “It’ll also allow us to use the (main) gymnasium in the spring for basketball workouts or a JO volleyball tournament, which are things we’ve had to turn away before.”
With the center being near Sidney Memorial Stadium, it can also be used for event space or inclement weather shelter during football games. There are already plans in place to use the center in 2020 to host a reception for the 50th anniversary of the program’s three-year 30-0 run.
Anyone interested in donating to the project can contact the school’s athletic department (937) 497-2243 for a pledge form.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.