By Adam Strunk
Newton teams can be hitting balls in Fenway Park, without leaving the downtown.
Well, close enough.
A new athletic training center, named Athletic Training Center, will open Feb. 1 on Broadway, west of Main Street in the previous Business Computer Center building. The building has been completely remodeled to house the new training facility. There will be an open house that day begining at 8 a.m.
Josh May, who will manage the facility, said it will operate in two ways.
In the front, the facility will operate as a membership gym, as well as a location for coaches to rent to train their teams.
The front features new gym equipment, treadmills, weight racks, ellipticals and medicine balls.
The back of the large building has been transformed complete with Astro Turf, elastic resistance training equipment and vests and batting cages. May noted that much of the equipment is high quality and the kind found at college training facilities.
“We saw an opportunity in the community,” manager Josh May said. “I talked to quite a few coaches who say they go down to Wichita for training. Our goal is to have teams in here, volleyball, baseball, football, softball,” May said.
A feature of the batting cages includes sensors to track bat speed, ball speed and predict where the ball would land on a baseball field.
The information is conveyed to a computer system that can display where the ball would land in any major league baseball stadium and shows if the hit would have resulted in an out or the runner making it to base.
Another machine shoots small balls and is able to set the speed of the balls as well as if they curve and how difficult they are to hit.
All is aimed at providing ways for local teams and athletes to improve and train.
May has experience in the training department as he served as an assistant women’s basketball coach at Cameron University in Lawton Okla. He also played basketball at Rodgers State in college in Oklahoma.
He said that part of the goal of the facility is to help athletes and those who want to get healthier, not just through physical training, but mental training as well.
The facility features a conference room where May said ATC plans on bringing in speakers to talk to teams and participants about healthy eating or exercise habits.
“Think right, play right,” he said.
May said the location should be attractive to the area as the memberships will allow competitive prices and people will be able to work out and train in a more intimate environment and members will have 24-hour access to the fitness area thanks to a key fob.
“We want to attract everyone,” he said. “If you have a goal, we can help you with it.”
The building is owned by Fire Creek Properties, LLC, which is, in turn owned by Al Vogts, of Vogts-Parga Construction. Vogts also remodeled the old VFW building last year turning it into the Prairie Fire Events Center.