VALPARAISO | The building has been around since World War II, but when you step inside, you get the impression it's as young as a newborn.
In rebirth renovation years, that's spot on.
"It's been a year project," said Mark Price, who relied on his carpentry skills and the help of family, friends and adept handymen to flip a nearly 70-year-old pole barn into Bases Loaded, LLC, a 12,000 square feet baseball and softball indoor training facility.
"The barn has been in the family, and this was something we've always wanted to do," said Denise Price, Mark's wife and business co-owner. "I told my father about our plans, and he decided to rent it out to us."
The Price's have a 15-year-old daughter, Shelby, who is a serious travel softball player, but she and her teammates struggled to find local indoor training.
"We know there are a lot of places like this in Lake County," Denise said, "but in Porter County, there are only a few places to go."
For the Price's, Bases Loaded is one of two family businesses. Instant Irrigation, LLC is the other.
"We're real busy when the weather is warm," Mark said, "but naturally, things come to a halt during the winter.
"You can say (Bases Loaded) is our winter-season business, but we'll be open year-round."
Though the Prices are in the process of gathering a staff of professional instructors and coaches for group and private lessons, they say their experience in the game mainly comes from being supportive parents.
"From the years of taking our kids to indoor practice facilities and talking to other parents who do the same, we've come up with a good idea of what works and what people want more of," Denise said. "A lot of people want a good area to stay while their kids our training, and we have a family area with a TV and free Wi-Fi.
"We also have a loft where parents and coaches can watch what's going on, and a dugout area where players can put their bags and equipment so it doesn't get in the way."
In addition to the main space, which can accommodate multiple netted machine- and coach-pitch batting cages, five-stage team practices and up to 110-feet for long toss; Bases Loaded has a private training area and a meeting room for teams and coaches.
"If you only saw this place beforehand," Mark said. "The toughest part was leveling the floor before putting the tarp down."