New Little League Southeastern Region Headquarters Dedicated
The final step in the transition of Little League Baseball and Softball’s Southeastern Region Headquarters to Warner Robins, Ga. took place today under perfect skies with the dedication of the new complex.
One of the driving forces behind the relocation of the Southeastern Region Headquarters to Warner Robins has been Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, who addressed the crowd at the dedication. As a child, Gov. Perdue played in Warner Robins Little League.
“It’s easy to talk about Little League when you have a motto that starts out, ‘I trust in God, and I love my country,’” Gov. Perdue said. I hope that never changes. So while I stand here 50 years after playing on the original Flint Field in Warner Robins, I get the same sense of passion.”
Today was the culmination of a process that began early in 2008 with 18 cities in six states interested in becoming Little League’s new administrative center for the eight-state region. Proposals from the 18 cities were received. The committee reduced that list to three and visited each city. The committee then reduced the list to two and made another visit before Warner Robins was selected as the site on Dec. 9, 2008.
“It was a long and painstaking process to find the best possible site, and the best possible solution for the relocation of the Southeastern Region Headquarters,” Dennis Lewin, Chairman of the Little League International Board of Directors, said during his remarks at the dedication ceremony. “Finally, the choice became obvious to us, and Warner Robins was the right home.”
The $5.5 million, 26.08-acre complex will serve as the hub of Little League activity for the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. The stadium on the complex, Little League Southeast Park, will seat 2,500 fans with a hillside area around the field bring capacity to around 5,000. A portion of the stadium seats is covered by a canopy.
Today’s dedication took place at the stadium, and included a visit from retired U.S. Army Gen. Tommy Franks, as well as Air Force Lt. Gen. Charles Stenner, and Air Force Maj. Gen. Polly Payer.
“This reminds me of how blessed we are to live in a place like this, and to be able to play a game where we celebrate youth, excellence, and volunteerism,” Gen. Franks said in his remarks. “It is a place where we celebrate freedom, and we celebrate each other. People all over the country come together to places like this, where volunteers give of themselves, making sure that young people are given a chance to understand teamwork, and something greater than self.”
Little League Southeastern Region Director Jennifer Colvin and her staff have been operating in the 10,400-square-foot Administration Building since early February when they moved from a temporary office (provided by Flint Energies) in Perry, Ga. In addition, the complex includes a maintenance facility, restrooms, concession stands, a gift shop and batting cages.
“This is the center for 27,000 Little League players in Georgia, and more than 330,000 players in the eight states of the Southeastern Region,” Stephen D. Keener, President and Chief Executive Officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, said. “And this beautiful stadium will get a lot of attention later this summer with both the Softball Regional and the Little League Baseball Regional to be played here. Perhaps the most important function here is, this site will be used for the important task of leadership training, and that will go on throughout the year.”
The newest of Little League’s five U.S. regional centers will not have to wait long to host its first large tournament. The annual Southeastern Region Tournament for both Little League Baseball (ages 11-12), which begins Aug. 6, and Little League Softball (ages 11-12), which starts July 28, will be played at Little League Southeast Park. The winner of those tournaments will represent the Southeastern Region in its respective World Series. The final three games of the Little League Southeastern Region Tournament will be televised live nationally on ESPN or ESPN2.
Throughout the process, including the groundbreaking in May of 2009, a number of people and companies have come together to make a vision a couple years ago come to life. Financial and in-kind support was provided by Houston County (Ga.), the Houston County Development Authority, the City of Warner Robins, Flint Energies, OneGeorgia Authority and Musco Sports Lighting.
The facility was constructed by International City Builders of Warner Robins with Mark Christianson, Director of Construction, coordinating the process from design through construction of the facility.
The previous site of the Southeastern Region Headquarters was in Gulfport, Fla., a suburb of St. Petersburg. It had been at that site since 1967.
Little League teams from Georgia have won three Little League Baseball World Series titles, including the championship in 2006 and 2007. The 2007 winner was Warner Robins American Little League. Last year, Warner Robins added another champion as the Little League Softball team captured the World Series title.
Stephen D. Keener, right photo, and Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, left, were among those who attended the dedication of Little League Baseball and Softball’s Southeastern Region Headquarters complex in Warner Robins, Ga. Also in attendance were several members of the Little League International Board of Directors, including Board Chairman Dennis Lewin and Chairman-Elect Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour.