Spring training is just around the corner, and this year, Golden High School baseball players have a new indoor batting facility to make sure they’re ready for the season.
The $250,000 dedicated 110-foot by 28-foot metal building—fondly referred to as “the barn”—opened in early January, thanks to a two-year fundraising project led by head coach Jackie McBroom and the GHS Baseball Booster Club.
McBroom said the facility is a major plus for players in many ways.
“Prior to this year, if we wanted to work out when it was snowy or wet, we’d have to pay a for-profit business in the community to use their cages,” McBroom explained. “Last year we worked out two to three times per week, and or we would have to pay for every time we went in there.”
He added that the cost of off-campus training posed challenges for some players as not all had the means to cover the extra expense.
“But if somebody has the opportunity to train on campus, that’s what you’re gonna choose,” he said. “And it makes it better for us too.”
McBroom points out that training can start right after school, allowing him to keep practice on schedule during inclimate weather.
There’s no commute.
There’s no scrambling for timeslots with other teams at commercial indoor facilities, and everything the team needs is conveniently located in one place.
“I used to have to put the pitching machine in the back of my Jeep and then and drive it to practice, unload it, and then load it back up again,” said McBroom. Now we just leave it here, and it stays here.”
The well-appointed facility is lighted, and insulated, has artificial turf, and easily accommodates three training areas.
McBroom said the project took close to two years to finish, and he credits not only the GHS Booster Club but many area businesses and families that chipped in with services, materials, and support.
Those include Swinerton Construction, Kelley Trucking, Three Brothers Concrete, Integrity Iron, Weifield Electric, Ground Engineering, Brightview Landscaping, Martin Marietta Concrete, Brundage Bone Concrete Pumping and Rio Grande Supply.
GHS junior Tanner Vodicka says the new batting facility will help him prepare for the season.
He also says he won’t miss the 20-minute drive to practice off-campus.
“I think it turned out nice,” said Vodicka. “It’s gonna help us get more work in.”
According to McBroom, the dedicated indoor facility is somewhat unusual.
“In the state of Colorado, this is not a common thing,” he emphasized. “In Jefferson County school district, there only two that exist, us and Dakota Ridge.”
While some schools use the gym as an indoor batting facility, McBroom said it’s not optimal for training because teams have to schedule around basketball, volleyball, cheer, dance and other school activities.
“We’re doing something in here every day, Monday through Saturday,” he said. “We’re going to utilize every available spot when we’re in here,” he said. “There’s going to be as little standing around as possible.”
This story was first published in the Golden Transcript on Feb. 10, 2022.