If all goes according to plan, a new indoor sports training facility for young athletes in Hays will be available by fall.
Hays residents Dustin Washburn and Jeremy Schmeidler have been working on the project for approximately a year and have a target date of Nov. 1 to open the 27,000 square-foot multi-sport facility.
On Monday, they plan to go before the Ellis County Commission to work out small details, such as a culvert that might need to be built.
The project is completely privately funded, and the men say they have the funding needed to start, with one asterisk.
“We’re always open for donations,” Washburn said. “We’ll discuss that as part of our philosophy as we move forward with the facility itself. But yes, as of this point, we’ve got the funds needed to build the facility that we are going to present.”
The men coach baseball at Thomas More Prep-Marian High School but stress the project is not connected to the school.
“This is for sports in the community. This is for our athletes,” Schmeidler said.
The idea for the facility came about after they started a summer youth baseball club last year. For its second summer, the Hays Baseball Club will have five teams with members ages 7 to 10.
“Really through that process is what led us to thinking we’d like to have a place to work out with our kids. In the past, we’ve been in garages and sheds,” Schmeidler said.
“We started out thinking we’d just do some sort of hitting barn. Through conversation, we thought maybe we could do something larger scale and do something big, something’s that functional and usable for a lot of kids.”
They’ve modeled their plans after similar facilities in Great Bend, Inman and Wichita.
The facility will include a 120-by-120-foot field turf surface, regulation size high school basketball court, four batting cages, two bullpens, a weight training area, accessible restrooms, conference room and three offices. A second level will offer a viewing mezzanine.
It will be located approximately 2 miles south of town on 240th Avenue — south of Main at the U.S. Highway 183 Bypass — on land donated by Glenn and Mary Jane Schmeidler.
“We currently have 9 acres surveyed for the facility and future expansion,” Schmeidler said.
The men said they aren’t ready to reveal their business model, but the facility will be open to everyone.
“The doors are open to any and all kids in the area to potentially use. Logistically as to how we’re going to make it work and exactly what our business model is, we’re not at that point where we’re ready to disclose it,” Washburn said.
The general contractor for the construction will be RDH Electric & Construction, 800 E. 12th, and subcontractors all will be local with the exception of the steel building and the turf, they said.