As summer approaches, excitement for a new season of sports in Hillsdale is growing. The city of Hillsdale is ramping up for a busy summer at the local park Fields of Dreams by building a new storage building.
Since it opened in 1998, Fields of Dreams has been a key part of the Hillsdale community.
“We always refer to it as our summer home,” Michelle Loren, the recreation director for the city of Hillsdale, said. “There’s baseball and soccer going on down there all summer long.”
Loren also said that they have divisions for ages 3 to 14 and also have four tournaments every year, which brings people from all over.
The facility, located on Hillsdale Road just north of campus, is home to three baseball fields, two soccer fields, and a playground. The city uses many of the fields for its summer recreational sports leagues. Fields of Dreams is also the home soccer field for the Hillsdale High School Hornets and the Hillsdale Soccer Club.
As summer approaches, however, the city realized that the facilities at Fields of Dreams were ill-equipped to handle the coming activity.
“The building that Hillsdale High School was using for storage was removed from the premises,” Loren said. “No one had a place to store everything.”
Without a dedicated storage unit, everyone who used Fields of Dreams was in a tight spot. All of the equipment needed for various baseball and soccer leagues needed somewhere to go. In lieu of proper storage, the organizers had to resort to any open space they could find.
“We had to use the mechanical room where all our electrical equipment is along with an open well,” Loren said. “Having people go in and out of that room became a big safety issue.”
With the support of a Hillsdale Community Foundation grant, Loran spearheaded a project to build a dedicated storage unit for use at the Fields of Dreams. Construction began two weeks ago.
Sophomore Julianna Battig will be the GOAL director for Community Sports Outreach, and is currently training under senior Caroline Andrews, the current GOAL director for Community Sports Outreach. Batting said the new shed will be really helpful, especially for soccer season because those teams are usually coached by parents.
“This will be really helpful for parent coaches and kids coming to practice, because now they don’t have to carry the nets and the balls, and all the other equipment,” Battig said. “It will be a safe spot where things won’t get stolen and if a coach can’t make it to practice, you’ll know the equipment will still be there.”
The city will use the largest unit in the building to house equipment for their recreational sports leagues. Hillsdale High School and the Hillsdale Soccer Club will also have their own unit. The building will have two additional units that the city will rent out to anyone who needs it.
“Everyone’s been waiting because they want to have their own building down there,” Loren said. “We decided to build the unit because we wanted some uniformity and continuity.”
Do-Rite Masonry, a company in Hillsdale, recently finished laying the brick for the building, following the same design used for the dugouts along the baseball fields. The roof and the doors are expected to be installed by the end of next week.
Battig said they have bins of cleats and extra equipment for kids who don’t have their own, and now they’ll be able to keep that in the shed.
“Hopefully we can get more equipment to keep in the shed so kids can still play regardless of what they have,” Battig said. “This will be great for the community, and it’s a big step in building the program up.”