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Upgrades continue at SCHS softball/baseball complex

Upgrades continue at SCHS softball/baseball complex

 

Ride by the Screven County High School Athletic Complex in the next few days and you might see something strange going on: construction. 

Yes, construction. 

Work is set to begin, $130,000 worth in fact, on getting the covered stands for the baseball and softball fields, along with a set of covered batting cages, completed by the opening Gamecock baseball game set for Feb. 24.

No, in such financially hard times the Screven County Board of Education is not spending tax payers’ money on such “amenities” as athletic facilities. The money is coming from a grant obtained last spring from the Timken Foundation of Canton, Ohio.  It is a grant that must be spent very soon or the money will be lost; additionally the money may be used for this specific complex construction and nothing else.

According to SCHS Principal Brett Warren, the construction will include eight sets of bleachers, four each for the baseball and softball fields, with metal roofs similar to those at the Screven County Recreation Department. There will also be a 50’ by 100’ steel framed structure built on a concrete slab and metal roof designed to hold up to five batting cages. There will be lights and nets. Depending on the type of nets used, the frame may also be used for other functions as well.

“This will bring our complex project closer to where we want it to be,” said Warren, “one of the best around bar none. We want to thank the Timken Foundation for their generosity, without this grant none of this would be possible … with our budgetary problems the likelihood of this happening are not good. ”

Superintendent Dr. Whit Myers echoed the sentiments of Warren, “We are very grateful for the support we receive from Timken and the Timken Foundation. The improvements that will be made possible though their generous grant will greatly enhance the practice facilities and spectator comfort for both baseball and softball.”

The Timken Foundation, located in Canton, Ohio, is an independent foundation incorporated in 1934. A quick trip through its Web site will note that its purpose is “to promote broad civic betterment by capital fund grants” including building/renovation and curriculum development. One stated limitation on the grants is that they are “given primarily in local areas of the Timken Co.”

In 2002, the Foundation awarded over $4.5 million in grants.

“The covered batting facility will greatly enhance practice effectiveness,” said Billy Pollock, who serves as the coach of the baseball and softball. “Players will be able to use the facility year-round rain or shine. Also this will provide all players more time to increase the effectiveness of their hitting.”

As for the bleachers, Pollock added “They are greatly needed. Our crowds will now have a comfortable place to sit and watch games instead of bringing their own chairs or even standing.”

It also is noteworthy that there will be plenty of room for fans who prefer their own chairs.

This construction is far from the lone contribution the foundation has made to ScrevenCounty. The funds for the construction of the swimming pool at the local recreation complex were through the foundation and recently $26,825 was spent on technology for science classrooms at SCHS. There has been money for other technology projects in all ScrevenCounty schools including interactive white boards at SCES and SCMS. It was estimated that between $600,000 and $700,000 has been made available in recent years through the Canton organization.

“We are fortunate to receive the Timken Foundation grants for the continued growth of our programs, not just athletic, but academic as well,” said Athletic Director Pat Collins recognizing the significance of Timken to the community. “With our budget problems we will continue to be resourceful so that we can upgrade and improve our entire athletic complex. Our goal is for the community and athletes to have the safest and best facility possible.”