By September, the first phase of a brand new development for practicing, training, and league basketball should be up and in operation. The Fieldhouse eventually will offer its space for baseball and softball, volleyball, cheerleading, and similar activities.
Groundbreaking for the 57,000 square foot facility was held Monday morning at the site, located at 1582 Green T Road in Hernando, near the soon-to-be-completed McIngvale Road interchange for I-269.
Four basketball courts will initially highlight the Fieldhouse, along with showers, group fitness, and training facilities. The Easley Baseball Club (EBC) and Easley Softball Club (ESC) elite programs will make the Fieldhouse their home and eventually there will be a practice baseball field and a practice softball/youth baseball field on the site.
But Ed Easley, the former major league baseball catcher who operates EBC and ESC, pointed out the Fieldhouse will open its facilities to the community.
“This is the home of our baseball club, but it’s a home for kids all around the community to help elevate their game,” Easley said. “This has been a long time coming.”
EBC has grown to sponsoring 45 baseball teams, and the relatively-new ESC has 10 softball teams.
We first reported developer Greg Drumwright’s plans for the Fieldhouse back in late January and on Monday Drumwright was excited to officially start the project.
“The Fieldhouse complex will be a place where people can come and train and find the best coaches in the world,” Drumwright said. “I hope we can move past the stigma that we have of not being able to support local sports.”
The building will fill a void for court facilities, since Drumwright pointed out that the only multi-court facility in the Mid-South is in Memphis and has only two courts. Many young basketball players from DeSoto County have to go to Memphis to get off-season coaching and training.
“The best basketball is played just over the Tennessee line,” Drumwright said. “I think kids down here deserve that opportunity. I also think there’s an opportunity here for a lot of great youth athletics.”
Drumwright said Jackson, Mississippi has the closest four-court facility to where the Fieldhouse will be situated and that is a five-court complex.
The location on Green T Road off the new McIngvale Road interchange with I-269 will be a benefit for the Fieldhouse. It will be 20 minutes away from Collierville and about 20 minutes away from downtown Memphis. That means the Fieldhouse can attract players from the entire area. It can also be a catalyst for growth around the interchange, said Hernando Mayor-elect Chip Johnson.
“There’s not a better spot in the whole Mid-South,” Johnson said. “Y’all can expect big things here and this is going to set a tone for those big things. I know this place is going to grow even more and this is going to put us on the map for youth sports.”
Johnson speculated hotel development could be among the facilities that will be spurred by the Fieldhouse development.
Drumwright says the basketball courts being installed inside the Fieldhouse will be familiar to area basketball fans, as they are “reclaimed” courts, meaning they were originally located in places like FedExForum but have been taken out of service. Drumwright purchased the courts and has stored them in anticipation of the Fieldhouse opening.
Tommy Miller is the general contractor for the project.