STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
LLANO — The frame and roof of the new Llano High School indoor practice facility is up, which means the building will be ready sometime in the fall.
Athletics director and head football coach Matt Green said he is thrilled for student-athletes as well as members of the band, drill team, and cheerleading squad.
“It is absolutely going up in a hurry,” he said. “It’s going to be up crazy fast.”
The building, which should be finished by the middle of October, will be 50 yards long by 53 yards wide with hashmarks, end zones, and a high ceiling that will allow long balls to be thrown and hit.
“You’ll be able to throw any pass you want, deep balls and bombs,” Green said.
Pull-down batting cages will be a treat for the baseball and softball teams. The facility will have indoor turf, so those teams will still be able to practice grounders and base running. Green believes it will have a heating system, and large fans will provide cooler air.
Green, who recently left Marble Falls for the job at Llano, worked at Lake Travis High School as an assistant coach and led Lucas Lovejoy as its football coach and noted both campuses have indoor practices facilities. In fact, Lovejoy based much of its facility on the one in Lake Travis, he said.
“Everybody wants to look at (the facility) as an in-season advantage,” he said. “Obviously, you know you’re never going to miss practice because of weather. It’s a nice luxury to have.”
With another facility, athletes will have options during cold weather in January, February, and March. Female athletes can use the weight room, while the boys are in the indoor practice facility, and vice versa.
“There’s a huge advantage there,” Green said. “All the in-season benefits are absolutely great. But the advantage is the offseason. You can get inside and get going.”
He envisions that athletes will want to do more offseason training on their own, just like his players at Lake Travis and Lovejoy. The facility, he said, offered protection for athletes who wanted to train before or after school.
“It’s a magnet for kids,” Green said. “I remember when I was growing up, I was desperate to go into a gym. This offers a real solution for kids to want to be indoors and a desire to want to build themselves up.”
The facility also will be used for sports camps next summer, which will offer protection for the youngest athletes during the Texas heat.
“You have to be careful with the little kids,” Green said. “They’re in the shade. It’s still warm, but you’re inside.”
The indoor practice facility is the latest addition for the athletics department. Construction crews completed the new baseball and softball fields in time for the start of the 2017 season in February and laid artificial turf at Llano Stadium last summer. All were built because of a bond approved by voters in 2014.