The softball facility at West Lincoln High School has taken on a new look.
Thanks to a large community effort and a $20k grant from the Timken Foundation, the goals and dreams of what coaches and administrators envisioned have come to fruition.
“I worked with Ruth Pillow (at Timken), who took me through the steps,” said head coach Allan Chapman. “She was very helpful to make sure we had the right paperwork. She was very encouraging.”
After a fundraising effort that began a couple years prior to Chapman taking over the program had reached a certain level, the sizable contribution from the Timken Foundation allowed the project to be set in motion.
The project included a storage building that provides the players a place to dress and store equipment. It can also provide shelter from inclement weather that could pop up.
“Most of the time was spent on our storage building upgrade,” Chapman said. “Once we got in there, we added a “coaches area” and a whole side for the girls.”
Lockers were provided by West Lincoln alumni. “We sold lockers for $200 each,” Chapman said, “and the donation would get you a nameplate on the locker itself.
The coach said that the community was so generous that the website had to be taken down to avoid getting more money than lockers.
Chapman said that a structure that will serve as a press box was built off site and brought in. The building is a smaller structure, but will still serve its purpose, and has a raised floor so workers and media can see over the fans. Scoreboard and sound equipment can also be stored inside.
The project also included taking down all of the fencing between the two dugouts, including the backstop, and replacing it with protective netting. New netting was also installed in front of each dugout.
A 32-inch wall was constructed out of concrete blocks at the backstop, and red decorative padding was installed on the face of it with the school’s name and logo.
“I’m so thankful for how generous the people and the community of West Lincoln have been to move this project across the finish line,” said Chapman.
The coach pointed out that the athletic department played a big role in making the project happen, along with Lincoln County Schools, local businesses, alumni and of course the Timken Company.
“Randy Putnam and Dr. (Aaron) Allen were great to work with,” Chapman said, “and Coach (David) Avery and Putnam communicated (constantly).
The community involvement and effort was key in getting things done, and Chapman noted that’s what Timken looks for. “As long as I’ve been here, it’s been that way,” said Chapman. “The community always pitches in. The people have always been here. It’s a tight community.”
Avery, who serves as the school’s athletic director, was very pleased with the process of the project, along with the final product at the facility which not only serves as the home field for the Lady Rebels, but also hosts the home games for West Lincoln Middle School softball.
“When Allan (Chapman) and I finalized our plan for the softball complex, we knew we were a few years away, but there were some things that we could do both financially and physically ourselves to start the process,” Avery said. “Fortunately, The Timken Company awarded us the grant and we saw how involved our community was in our fundraising efforts. We realized that accomplished more in a smaller time frame.
“We can’t thank The Timken Company and our community, especially all of the current and former softball players, enough for their support with this project,” Avery said. “Without them, it wouldn’t have happened like it has.