HERMISTON — As they stood on a wide expanse of gravel behind Hermiston High School, members of the school’s softball team could list all sorts of benefits to the new softball complex that will be built at the site:
“No more potholes out in the outfield.”
“No more goatheads.”
“No more slippery home plate.”
“No more sitting on chipped plywood getting splinters in your booty.”
Kendyl Inners said the thing she will look forward to most is not having to rush through changing in the high school’s locker room, and then figure out how to get the entire team over to the current softball fields at Rocky Heights Elementary School with a limited number of vehicles.
“Also, people can know where the softball fields are and watch us play,” she said.
While the girls have enjoyed their time playing softball for HHS, they are excited at the prospect of a brand new, state-of-the-art complex right on their own campus. Coach Rebecca Pridmore shares their enthusiasm. She said one feature she is particularly looking forward to is having a dugout, because for her, gathering with her team in a dugout for the first time in college was a real “aha moment.”
“The girls and I are really excited for this,” she said. “They work really hard, so they deserve this.”
Hermiston School District broke ground on the project on Tuesday, Sept. 29. The new fields are the first step in the school district’s collection of projects that will be paid for by the $82.7 million bond voters passed in November 2019. Other projects include a larger Rocky Heights Elementary School, a new elementary school recently christened Loma Vista Elementary School, a new annex added on to the high school and improvements to parking and pick-up lanes at some schools.
“We’re here to celebrate a major milestone in our bond projects,” Superintendent Tricia Mooney told the crowd at the site.
Athletic Director Larry Usher said the softball team has been a “bright spot” in the district’s athletic programs and he was glad they were finally getting the state-of-the-art complex they deserve, similar to the teams that play on Kennison Field.
The $2 million project includes two softball fields with stands and dugouts plus storage, and a building with restrooms and concessions. The high school’s baseball field nearby is also getting a major renovation.
Usher said the location on the high school campus will be more convenient than Rocky Heights, and should also give students more of a sense of ownership of the space. He said the district is grateful to the voters who supported the bond.
“I think the community is really going to love seeing this piece of property used for something so beneficial to the kids,” he said.