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New $80,000 indoor baseball facility planned for state champ Ads

Coming off a Class AAA state championship season in 2006 that surprised many, the Farragut High School baseball program isn’t resting on its laurels of three state titles in four years.

The next step is to better sharpen its skills on a year-round basis.

And to do that, a 2,000 square foot indoor batting/pitching cage and weight room facility — estimated to cost about $80,000 — has been drawn up, with a construction start-up date targeted for late fall.

“We’re estimated to be around the eighty-thousand dollar range, we’re hoping we can get it done for about that,” FHS head coach Tommy Pharr said, adding that boosters have so far raised “about forty thousand” and they hope to raise all necessary funds before having to secure a loan.

“Our hope is to at least have the structure up by the time baseball starts [February] where we can use the cages,” Pharr added. “We might not have it fully enclosed by then. ... to have the roof on it, put the cages in it, get that done.”

To be located adjacent to the existing “open air” cages on the parking lot side of the baseball complex and extending behind the FHS baseball clubhouse/concession stand, “Plans are to add on two-thousand square feet to what we’ve got, and then enclose the whole thing so in the wintertime we can use it,” Pharr said of the 20 by 100-foot structure, which will extend to the height of the existing “open-air” cages [13 feet].

“We want to put garage doors around it where in the summer months we can just open it up to get some air to flow through there. It would allow us to use it year-round, and it would make it larger, too, to where we would have more cages and do some other things in there.”

While the new structure would seal off the existing entrance to John Heatherly Field, “Right there off the road we would make a nice new entrance to our ballpark,” Pharr said of the proposed entrance next to the sidewalk through a “double gate” along newly-named Lendon Welch Way near the stands.

As for features, “It would allow us to have three short cages [40 feet] and one long cage [60 feet],” Pharr said. “And then we’d have kind of a drill area, and we’d have room to have a little weight room on the end of it, that way all of our stuff would be centrally located at the building.”

In addition to the $80,000, “There would be some additional cost just from cages, things like that,” Pharr said. “I’m guessing four to five thousand dollars.”

With the upper portion of Farragut’s baseball complex adjacent to Bill Clabo Field, Pharr said construction would hopefully begin after all FHS football home games are completed, which could extend into November.

“We’ve done a lot of stuff to our facility, and it’s in good shape, so this is the next big thing to try and do, to enlarge and enclose that,” Pharr said, adding that Bearden and “all the Murfreesboro schools have indoor facilities, like Oakland, Riverdale, Siegel, Smyrna.”

Chuck Griffin, past president of the FHS Dugout Club and current special projects coordination, said the program must get “School Board approval once we have the drawings completed, then we have to submit for a building permit.”

Pharr said he’s talked to FHS principal Michael Reynolds “and based on where we’re doing it, it shouldn’t be a problem.”


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