A massive indoor sports complex is currently being built out inside the former Mid-Atlantic Millworks building at 419 East High Street in Carlisle.
Former Cumberland Valley High School and Wilson College softball standout Kayla Hogan and her father, Joe Sullenberger, are aiming to open the facility next month.
“I give pitching lessons now, and I love working with kids,” Hogan said. “It’s a much better way to help them connect than sitting at home in front of the TV.”
The Central Penn SportsPlex, as Hogan intends to call it, will occupy the 25,000-square-foot green steel building located to the rear of the Mid-Atlantic site. The brick building to the front of the property currently houses Rhone Brewing, Metzger Signs, and Premier Rental-Purchase.
Hogan and her father are currently giving softball lessons out of a site in Gettysburg — a location that’s only about 1/10th of the size of the Mid-Atlantic site.
“There’s really no way we could grow in that space,” Sullenberger said. “This is what she’s going to be doing for the next 20 years of her life, so we wanted to go ahead and expand now.”
The Central Penn SportsPlex will feature a wide variety of sports training options, although it will concentrate on baseball and softball.
The main attraction will be full-size, fully-turfed infield, as well as batting cages and pitching lanes. While laid out for baseball and softball, the massive turfed space can also be used for soccer, football, field hockey, and any other grass sport.
Hogan and Sullenberger also plan to install golf simulators, a strength training area, and possibly a rock climbing wall. A concession area will also allow the complex to host birthday parties and other events.
The planned variety should position the Central Penn SportsPlex as both a space for competitive training as well as more casual activities — akin to a slightly smaller version of the massive Spooky Nook Sports Complex near Lancaster, Hogan said.
The facility already has contracts with local sports teams — scholastic as well as private travel squads — to use the space, which is in particular demand during the winter.
“We’re already working with Wilson (College), and have contracts with some travel teams,” Hogan said.
“If you support the community, they’ll support you,” Sullenberger added. “We’re in the middle of a huge youth sports community. Carlisle Little League alone is 425 kids.”
The building retains its original steel frame, which Sullenberger says dated to the late 1940s. Most everything else has been renovated and replaced in order to make the space energy efficient, especially for winter use.
The Mid-Atlantic site is currently owned by Rick Slagle, whose father acquired it from Andersen Windows, according to Wayne Deakin with Century 21 Realty, the site’s leasing agent.
The Slagles bought the building from Andersen Windows, according to Deakin’s reckoning, after Andersen bought out the Mid-Atlantic Millworks. Prior to being a window factory, the site was used by an electric company, and a gas company before that, going back to the 19th century.
The parcel has a number of railroad stubs, and a massive refueling tank for trains was found under the site, indicating direct rail access at some point in the past.
“That site was a major commercial hub for the region,” Deakin said. “It’s been fascinating to work with.”
The campus is being marketed as the Mid-Atlantic Building, Deakin said, referencing its history. Two lease sites are still available in the main building, Deakin said, which is also being prepared for an expansion by Rhone Brewing in the coming months.