Two years ago, the vision for a Glynn Academy Athletic Complex was nothing more than a sketch on Adam Wainwright’s iPad.
On Thursday, however, the St. Louis Cardinals pitcher broke ground alongside Glynn County school officials on what will become a state-of-the art athletic complex for his alma mater.
The Glynn Academy graduate’s vision began simply as an idea to build an impressive baseball field.
“The first thing I thought of was baseball, if I’m going to be honest,” said Wainwright at the groundbreaking ceremony on Glynn Middle School’s football field. “I loved my time at Edo Miller Field, but this is going to be really, really special. And I think God, in his sense of humor, he’s blessed me with four daughters.”
So Wainwright made sure to build a facility that would benefit the entire community, and his idea transformed into what will be a 16.1-acre complex that will include a baseball field, softball field, track, football/soccer field and indoor batting and pitching facility.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am that you girls are going to have your own softball complex for the first time,” Wainwright said. “It’s going to be really special, and maybe one that my four daughters can enjoy too.”
Steve Waters said Thursday that it was a happy day to be Glynn County Schools’ athletic director.
“It’s going to be a beautiful complex, something these kids can be very proud of,” Waters said. “This facility is going to reach athletes not only now, but in decades to come. Young and old alike, we’re all going to benefit from this facility.”
The Wainwright Family Foundation donated 10 acres of land on Lanier Blvd. to the school system for the project, and his family will help fund the construction of the facilities.
“Adam and Jenny, the community is grateful for your contribution, and I can assure you this will be a first-class facility and a place where both young men and women will come to learn and build dreams,” said Superintendent Howard Mann.
John Tuten & Associates designed the complex, and Lavender Construction, a company in Statesboro, has been contracted to build it.
“This is a great complex, and it’s a tribute to the Wainwrights and it’s a tribute to the community,” Tuten said.
A lighted baseball field and parking lot will be built on the site of the current Glynn Middle School football field. A lighted softball field will be constructed south of the baseball field, along with an additional parking lot along Lanier Blvd.
On the site’s southwest side, there will be a full-size football/soccer field inside a regulation 400-meter track.
A 13,000-square foot indoor batting and pitching facility will also house boy’s and girl’s locker rooms, a concession stand and restroom facilities.
“No matter if it’s raining, if it’s hot, no matter if it’s cold — no matter what Mother Nature throws us — the kids will have a place to go to work on their games year-round,” Waters said.
The softball field is scheduled to be completed by August, and the baseball field and track are set to be completed by early 2018.
Wainwright’s goal for the complex, Waters said, was that it be functional as well as aesthetically-pleasing.
“What Adam said originally was that he wanted a place people could drive by and be proud of,” Waters said. “When you come into Glynn County now, when you go over the Sidney Lanier bridge, the first thing you’ll see on your left is going to be this athletic complex.”
The baseball field’s bleachers will look out over the marsh, and the plan is for the field itself to be fit for athletes of all ages, from student athletes to the professionals.
“It will make our program the envy of every program around the state,” Waters said. “The dugouts will be similar to what you see in the big leagues, the brick backstop like you’d have at a major league field and the view for the fans overlooking the marsh will make baseball games a must-do event in Glynn County once again.”
After the groundbreaking, Wainwright took the time to visit with some Glynn Middle School students, including Clayton Bladdick, whose hero is Wainwright.
The pair sat and talked for awhile, and Wainwright told Bladdick if he gets good grades the rest of the school year, he would take Bladdick to lunch one day in the fall.