Indoor facility a boost for Radford ball teams

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The Radford University baseball and softball programs will get a new home soon. An indoor one, that is. The $1.3 million dollar project, set to be completed in June, will offer both teams an 11,000 sq. ft. indoor hitting facility located directly behind the outdoor softball field.

“It’s going to be a huge boost for both of our programs,” said Head Softball Coach, Maggie White. “The big thing is having a place that we can really manage and prepare our teams when the weather is cold that is close to where we are all day and is easily accessible for the teams when they want to go in there and do extra stuff.”

In August 2013, the University released plans to tear down the Burlington Lot. What was the indoor training center for both teams would become the landing spot for intramural sports, filled with turf fields.

The University went through the step-by-step approval process standard for any capital project in the Commonwealth.

“You’ve got to get authority from the governor to have the project, the board of visitors must approve funding, and then you need to select an architect to design and after that there are several stages of design review,” said Chief Facilities Officer, Chris Willis. “The final step is to advertise for bidding and the low bidder is awarded the contract.”

Once Radford got the go-ahead, they began construction. After demolishing the Burlington Lot, the baseball and softball teams relocated to an indoor warehouse on Main Street, next to the restaurant, El Charro, for training during inclement weather. Lined with turf and batting cages, the athletic department rented out the space for both squads to use until May.

“We will use the new facility to train in all facets of our game,” said head baseball coach, Joe Raccuia. “It will provide us an open indoor space to train at almost game like decisions.”

Aside from just empty indoor space, the building will include eight offices (four for each team), restrooms and batting cages. Ready for fall season, White explained how important it’ll be on the recruiting front. She isn’t sure what the layout will be quite yet, but is hoping to fit at least three batting cages.

The new indoor facility marks the latest update to the athletic program facilities, behind a new video scoreboard for the baseball field which was finished mid-February. It was a private gift from a friend of the program and is in full use now during games.

“I really believe the benefits [of having these facilities] are far reaching,” said Joe Raccuia, head baseball coach. “It benefits the student-athlete experience, it benefits the fan base and most importantly it should benefit on recruiting efforts.”

For now, the athletic department hasn’t released information on whether the scoreboard will have a name. Coach Raccuia said his vote would lean towards: Radford University Player Development Center.

According to Willis, the next university project is to renovate the on-campus building, Whitt Hall.