PDT Sports Editor
After construction began five years ago, the Portsmouth Trojans have been reaping the benefits of a new state-of-the-art athletic complex. However, the Trojans’ softball team as yet to move into their new home.
The wait is almost over. By the end of October, the Trojans will have their new stadium to begin preparations for the 2014 season.
Construction began on the athletic complex in 2007 after funding was approved by the Clark Foundation and the Scioto Area Foundation. According to the Director of Facilities Ralph Applegate, the entire complex cost around $12.5 million.
“We started off trying to build the whole thing,” Applegate said. “We put a committee together and as a committee, we were going to build the whole thing. But as we started building it, we realized we weren’t going to be able to finance everything we needed to do. So, we built it in segments.”
Applegate said quality was more important than timeliness.
“We wanted to do it first class,” Applegate said. “Like anything, you’d like to do it all at once but then when you see the cost of stuff; we could have done it all but you wouldn’t have the facility you have now. We wouldn’t have been able to do it and do it right.”
Applegate consulted Portsmouth’s coaching staffs before proceeding with any construction plans.
“The coaches were all in agreement,” Applegate said. “They would rather wait and have a first class facility rather than rushing it and getting a regular field.”
Construction began on the football field, baseball field and outside basketball courts. The tennis courts and track were finished last year and last but no least is the softball field, which is near completion, Applegate said.
“It’s a nice venue for the kids, they can come right out of the school and go right to their athletic event,” Applegate said.
According to Applegate, the community is encouraged to enjoy the new facilities.
“We open the track for the community to walk on,” Applegate said. “We open it around 7 in the morning for anyone interested in using the track.”
Applegate acknowledge four individuals who he described as instrumental in the completion for the athletic complex. Neil Hatcher donated close to $1 million in material. Hatcher donated all of the stone for the coliseum and the lights for the baseball field. Hatcher also had the restroom and concession stand built for baseball field and track area along with the press box on the track.
Mark Hunter donated money for the fences while Donnie Hatzel donated the lights for the track. Clay Johnson did most of the legal work to get the financing approved.
Chris Slone can be reached at 353-3101, ext 298, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking sports news, follow Chris on Twitter @crslone.