Dec. 11, 2008
LOS ANGELES - The UCLA baseball program has begun construction of the Jack Gifford Hitting Facility, a 10,500-square foot state-of-the-art hitting and practice complex generously funded by former Bruin baseball player and UCLA alumnus Jack Gifford and Rhodine Gifford.
The Bruins' hitting complex will be located behind the outfield fence, extending from the right-field foul pole toward the scoreboard in center field. The Jack Gifford Hitting Facility is expected to be completed by the end of January.
"This facility revolutionizes hitting instruction for advanced hitters," Gifford said. "The facility's concept of a large, open environment was developed and pioneered at Stanford University by Coach Mark Marquess and John Arrillaga. We were able to benefit from this knowledge and feel that all future facilities will mimic these two, if space and funding are possible."
The Jack Gifford Hitting Facility - 70-feet wide, 150-feet long and 23-feet high - will feature an adjustable interior design to accommodate as many as five hitting cages at once. Additionally, the facility will house a spacious tee area and moving curtains that allow ample space for defensive drills.
"For position players, hitting instruction and practice facilities are more important than the playing field," Gifford said. "I'm sure that future recruits will recognize that UCLA facilities demonstrate our commitment to their success. The facility can be used during inclement weather, for all other forms of instruction and practice such as infield practice and large gatherings."
The new complex at Steele Field at Jackie Robinson Stadium marks a major upgrade for the UCLA baseball program. The facility will allow natural light and also feature interior lighting, and the floor will consist of synthetic turf. The 10,500-square foot design will allow for two 30-x-70-foot cages and three 20-x-60-foot cages, all which will feature retractable netting.
"We are very thankful to Jack and his vision with our new, state-of-the-art hitting facility," head coach John Savage said. "This will bring a whole new dimension of player development to our program. The players and coaches are very excited about having a new training facility, one that will be among the nicest in the county. The Jack Gifford Hitting Facility will be a special place for all Bruin players."