Toyota has made a $1 million commitment on the Texas Rangers’ new Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy at Mercy Street Sports Complex in West Dallas.
Toyota’s pledge is an additional partnership the automaker has forged with the ball club.
The Rangers and Toyota entered into a multi-year partnership in April, which included Toyota’s official truck sponsorship as well as the branding and naming rights for 12 of the Rangers’ parking lots adjacent to Globe Life Park in Arlington.
The Rangers, Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation, Major League Baseball, the Major League Baseball Players Association and Mercy Street West Dallas are partnering to build the new facility, located on 17 acres at the intersection of Hampton Road and Bickers Street. The facility will provide free (or reduced cost) and year-round opportunities for North Texas youth, and will include five fields and an academy building.
Toyota’s branding at the academy will include signage on the exterior and interiors areas of the facility as well as the scoreboards and dugouts on the five fields.
In addition, Toyota will work with the Texas Rangers Foundation to implement programs that support the youth and families that will use the academy. These programs are expected to include literacy, STEM-focused and curriculum initiatives, and career exploration opportunities.
Toyota employees also are expected to volunteer at the academy as part of the company’s commitment to community.
“Since Toyota’s founding more than 80 years ago, our company has been committed to improving the communities where we do business. It’s part of what we call ‘The Toyota Way,’” said Jim Lentz, chief executive officer, Toyota Motor North America. “As part of our commitment to our new home in North Texas, we’ve already established several partnerships that make a positive impact on the lives of others, and that’s why Toyota’s investing $1 million to partner with the Rangers and to provide new opportunities for the kids and families of West Dallas.”
Outfielder Josh Hamilton has made a financial contribution to the academy project that will result in the naming rights to one of the fields. The Josh Hambone Hamilton Field will be used for youth baseball and softball league play and instruction. The infield of the field is turf and the outfield is natural grass. The dugouts will feature Rangers Red Brick. Seating for about 200 will be shaded.
Third baseman Adrian Beltre’s financial contribution will fund the full turf, Major League-size indoor infield that will be a featured part of the Youth Academy building. Beltre’s uniform number “29” will be inscribed in the grass turf of that infield.
The Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy will be available to children throughout North Texas, especially the more than 8,000 kids who live within the West Dallas neighborhood and youth from the greater Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. In addition to providing year-round baseball and softball instruction and play – including hosting tournaments, coaching clinics and skills camps – the academy will provide youth with access to tutoring programs, college prep classes, college and career fairs, financial literacy and internship programs, courses teaching math through the use of baseball statistics, and MLB industry alternative career workshops.
Youth also will have opportunities to be involved in drug resistance and gang-prevention programs and healthy lifestyle classes. Additionally, all academy members and other community youth will benefit from baseball vocational programming, such as umpiring seminars, athletic field management, scouting and player development, sports information training, and athletic sports training.
The academy will be overseen by employees of the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation, who will work with Mercy Street and its existing programming. The operations of the academy will be covered entirely by the foundation, which also will provide equipment, supplies, utilities and other operating costs.
Construction on the project is slated to be completed by Oct. 1. The site north of Bickers that features the academy building and Oates Field, presented by Papa John’s, will be completed by spring 2017. The architect for the project is Sterling Barnett Little Inc. of Arlington, and the general contractor is the Skiles Group of Richardson.