What wasn’t included was money for a baseball stadium even though the school was set to field a baseball team. The school’s first baseball coach, Mike Bosco, and his staff were forced to play a schedule without any home games in the Cougars inaugural season. By Year 2 a field was in place.
Twelve years later, Spanish Springs has a nice baseball field. The playing surface is a good one, but there is no stadium. It’s not a complex. There is very little seating and very few frills.
“When Mike started, we had to put in dugouts and that was a great deal of money,” said Ben Hofmann, who just finished his third season at the helm of the Cougars’ program after working as Bosco’s long-time assistant. “We had to put in fencing, bullpens, all of that in those first couple years.”
That was no easy task and did not get done overnight. Hofmann, who was part of those early construction efforts, must be recharged. He, along with parent volunteer Lisa Anderson, are spearheading an effort to upgrade the entire Spanish Springs baseball/softball field areas.
“It’s a plan we may have to do in a couple phases, but we’d like to make this an entire complex,” Hofmann said. “We’ve got plans. Now it’s a matter of raising money. We’ve raised a little bit. We’re looking into grants and getting things going.”
The plans are ambitious and bring a price tag of roughly $400,000. Here are a few of the planned changes/upgrades.
•Upgrading the school’s existing JV softball field and making it the varsity field
•Building a permanent concessions stand that will service both softball and baseball
•Erecting a centrally located new structure that will house locker rooms, bathrooms and coaches offices.
•Moving up the home plate backstop and installing new dugouts that would be further down the first and third baselines, creating more space for bleachers behind home plate and wrapping around the infield.
•Installing screens on baseball dugouts for improved safety
•Building a press box with state-of-the-art capabilities to support Spanish Springs High’s signature academy promoting the mass media fields.
•Improve drainage issues by taking out baseball grass infield and installing artificial field turf.
“We didn’t get a lot of extras for softball and baseball when the school was first built,” Spanish Springs Athletic Director Art Anderson said. “It’s taken both programs 12 years just to get to where they are today, which includes the year-round hitting cages and that was a $50,000 project.
“It’s not equitable that baseball and softball don’t have restrooms up there or closer locker rooms. The concessions stand up there is a trailer. This project would absolutely improve the quality of our fields and it would make it easier on our athletes as well.”
The project is one Anderson, who is the general manager at Reno’s Montreux Golf and Country Club, signed on to help lead fundraising efforts. Anderson’s daughter, Lyndsey, just graduated from SSHS and her son Ryan will be a sophomore in the fall.
“I felt passionate enough to volunteer,” Anderson said. “My first thought was how have they done this for so long. One thing I thought was important was that we had to go to the corporate and grant level. Our parents give so much and this was not something we could do with just parent support. We went to the district’s grant writing office and put a proposal together. We got permission to move forward and now we’re going to target some bigger foundations.”
After watching her children compete throughout northern Nevada, Anderson has seen nearly every high school athletic facility in the region. She believes Spanish Springs needs and deserves better.
“I’ve looked at the facilities other high schools have. If Spanish Springs’ (baseball/softball complex) is not one of the worst, it is the worst. It is such a nice school, but the baseball/softball part is lacking.
“One thing you want is to have a great fan experience. Right now, more people stay in their cars and watch baseball games from the hill. There are no bleachers, no bathrooms, inadequate concessions. The scoreboard rarely works. It just needs a lot of improvement. Our kids deserve that and we should want them to be proud of where they play.”
Hofmann echoed those sentiments.
“This will be nice. It will be nice for the community,” he said. “We’ve got good people and good kids in the community. Spanish Springs is the largest school in northern Nevada. It would be nice to improve the facility to match the type of school we have.”
The project has already started to bring in donations, including a $5,000 gift from Barrick Gold. Hofmann has said some of the region’s top contractors and contracting suppliers, like Q&D Construction and Western Nevada Supply, have agreed to help. He said it’s going to take a full community effort.
For more information on the project, or to find out how to donate supplies or services, contact Hofmann at: email@example.com or Anderson at: firstname.lastname@example.org