An indoor space in Chelsea for batting cages and different sports

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A multi-use facility built on Chelsea School District property that would have batting cages as well as space for various sports and teams that could use it for practice and work-outs.

That’s one of the big goals of a potential fundraising project being developed in Chelsea.

This idea was brought before the Chelsea School District Board of Education during its Jan. 25 virtual meeting.

CSD Athletic Director Brad Bush and John Daniels, a Chelsea resident and a coach with the high school softball program, presented the idea as a run-up to next month when the school board will officially decide on their request for permission to begin a fundraising project.

Bush said the last time they presented an idea similar to this was 14 years ago when they proposed the first turf project at the football stadium.

In their presentation on Jan. 25, Bush and Daniels said the need for a facility like this came into more focus after the batting cages were moved from its previous space in order to make room for preschool expansion. They are now inside the WESC gym, which they said is a good fix but a short-term one because of other uses in the gym.

At the same time, they said there’s also a great need for both school-based and community-based indoor cages for hitting and throwing as well as the need for indoor space for other sports like football, soccer and lacrosse to work on things like skill work.

They said there’s a constant challenge for time and space, and this facility would help address this.

Daniels said it would be for Chelsea area youth, both girls and boys, ranging in ages from 9 or 10 years old on up through the high school level.

Bush said they are proposing to build a multi-use indoor facility that would use already existing parking between softball and Pierce Lake Elementary School. He said the building would not impact any existing facility or fields.

In projected size, the building would be around 85 feet by 50 feet with an indoor ceiling height of 14 feet. Daniels said it would be solidly built to last with all of the necessary details, such as heating, LED lighting and restroom facilities.

Make sure it’s done right is important, Bush said, and that’s why Tim Courtright, CSD's Director of Operations, has been part of the early discussions and would continue to be part of the planning, if the project moves forward.

Once completed, the school district would own the building and take on the care and maintenance of it. It was projected that the facility, as a rental, could become a revenue maker for the district.

The fundraising and donations would be handled by the Chelsea Athletic Boosters, a 501c3 organization, which would allow the help to be tax deductible. The Boosters board is behind creating the project, Bush said.

The fundraising would not only look to monetary donations, but also to in-kind donations, such as materials and labor. No funding would be sought from the school district.

If the school board gives it the green light, Bush said they would begin the process of organizing the fundraising committee with the goal of it being a 12 to 24 months project. He said they would aim to do it the right way.

The school board is expected to review this request for permission at its Feb. 8 meeting.

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