Polk County head baseball coach Billy Alm had a dream. PCHS construction teacher Keith Rimer helped make that dream a reality.
The result is the indoor workout facility that sits behind the left-field fence at The Bottoms. Wolverine fans and visitors have been able to see the work-in-progress rise during the past two seasons, but might not fully understand the potential impact of the structure that gleams there.
“It’s going to change the face of baseball in Polk County in the long run,” Alm said. “Everything is going to get better.”
The structure contains side-by-side workout areas, large enough for Polk County pitchers to throw off a simulated mound while hitters can work nearby on their swings. The area can also be converted to a single space to allow players to go through fielding drills.
Though not fuly complete, the value of the building has already been evident this season.
“With all the rain as the season began, I think in the first four weeks of the season, we were outside three times, and two of those were for games,” Alm said while standing in the building. “We’ve gotten a lot of work done in here. We can pitch, we can hit, we can pull the cage up and take ground balls.
“You can see it in the boys. They’ve taken so many swings in here that our offense is a lot better. For all the pitching stuff, (assistant coach Josh Money) has got that going well. He’s able to do all his arm control and everything in here.”
That the building is already up and operational in Alm’s third season leading Polk’s baseball program is due in large part to Rimer, a licensed general contractor in addition to his spot on Polk County’s faculty.
Rimer, whose son, Evan, is a senior on the Wolverine roster, has led the construction of the project, turning the ideas that Alm and Money had into the current building. The baseball program has unofficially nicknamed the building the “Rime Time Indoor Practice Facility” and honored Rimer before Friday’s home game with Mitchell.
“He’s made a dream come true. Without him, it’s just a dream,” Alm said.
“He’s come to me and said we could do this, we could do that. It’s what he does for a living, and we went with everything he wanted to do. He’s got great ideas, so we ran with it, and we’ve ended up with a facility that’s better than what most small colleges have.”
Polk County players have raised funds for the project since Alm was named the program’s head coach in early 2017, and a number of donors stepped up with contributions that accelerated the timeline. Once completed, the building will also be air conditioned, meaning players can train year-round no matter the weather. Alm hopes that Polk County Middle School players can also eventually make use of the facility.
And he is already starting to envision a second phase of the project.
“I’d like to have a locker room off the back, and a weight room here,” Alm said. “But that’s a long way down the road. We’ve got to finish this building first.”