The North Central Missouri College Board of Trustees approved the construction of a new indoor training facility for baseball and softball last month. Kramer Construction of Jamesport submitted the winning bid of $1,198,750 for the new Russ Derry Practice Facility.
NCMC Athletic Director Nate Gamet says that private funds and gifts will cover 90% of the cost. This money was raised through the NCMC Foundation.
The project has been “in the works” for several years, and he notes a growing need for sports teams to find an indoor practice facility other than the Ketcham Community Center.
The new facility will be located east of the Ketcham Center and north of the current Derry facility in Trenton. Gamet mentions that the current building will be repurposed.
Construction has already begun at the new site. The new building will measure 120 by 84 feet and will be entirely turf-covered. A trend in local ballparks transitioning to turf, and many teams are now opting for turf fields. He believes that having a turf facility where players can practice grounders on turf is advantageous.
The facility will feature plywood walls and will be padded in areas to prevent potential hazards from balls ricocheting off walls.
While the current facility houses a single batting cage, the new building will contain four. Additionally, it will have 20-foot side walls.
Although the facility won’t have air conditioning, it will be equipped with fans and will be well-insulated.
Heaters will also be installed for use during the winter months.
Gamet emphasizes that windows will be fortified to prevent damage from softballs and baseballs.
Baseball and softball players have relied on the Ketcham Community Center during colder weather or snow, however, securing practice time becomes challenging when the men’s and women’s basketball teams are also in session.
NCMC researched other community colleges of similar size that possess indoor training facilities for baseball and softball. These facilities vary in size and function, with some having different flooring types or being shared with other sports.
He is confident that NCMC’s new Russ Derry Practice Facility will rank among the top facilities in the region.
Gamet emphasizes the importance of completing the building by January 1st, noting that the Ketcham Center recently received a new gym floor, and it would be detrimental for ground balls to impact it. Teams will continue to practice outdoors whenever feasible.
Games will remain at Burleigh Grimes Field for baseball and the Ebbe Sports Complex for softball.