CV Tech Students Build New Baseball Lockers at El Reno High School

The revamped interior of El Reno High School’s baseball locker room features brand new professional-style lockers with seat storage, hanger space and lockable cabinets. The project was made possible with materials supplied by the high school and labor provided by students enrolled in Canadian Valley Technology Center’s Construction Trades program.

November 6, 2017

EL RENO – Admittedly, the diamond Keith Hill sees everyday needed a little polish around the edges.

Hill, who coaches the El Reno High School baseball program, recently had a brainstorming session with Athletic Director Rod Haydon and Superintendent Craig McVay.

The men were exploring options for upgrading a worn out locker room that had become an eyesore at an otherwise nice baseball facility.

Hill said the baseball program is on the rise, and he thinks all the facilities should reflect the return to prominence.

El Reno baseball was on top in the early 1990s with back-to-back state championships in 1991 and 1992.

The quarter-century since has yielded successes but no titles.

McVay placed a phone call to Canadian Valley Technology Center Superintendent Dr. Greg Winters in August seeking help from the school’s Construction Trades program.

Students enrolled in the program are preparing for careers as residential and commercial builders.

Instructor Brian Deason agreed to take on the project as a community outreach, also figuring to hone his students’ cabinet-building technique.

The CV Tech students researched, designed and built 26 professional-style lockers and delivered them to El Reno High School’s baseball clubhouse last week.

The lockers are made of maple. That’s the wood preferred by 70 percent of major league players, according to information supplied by bat maker Louisville Slugger. Ash, birch, hickory and bamboo are less commonly used.

Hill said the lockers are a boost for the program.

“The players are very excited and proud,” he said. “The lockers we had were 15 to 20 years old. It was time for a change.

“This gives the kids a sense of pride. They can feel good about their environment. When you feel good, you perform better.”

The handshake agreement required El Reno to supply all the building materials.

CV Tech Construction Trades students supplied the sweat equity. Students in Auto Collision Technology clear-coated the lockers to preserve the wood.

Besides learning advanced cabinetry skills, Deason said his students also learned the value of helping a partner school.

El Reno Schools added new carpet, giving the locker room a completely new interior.

“It’s a win-win,” Hill said. “The Canadian Valley students did a great job. We’re very appreciative.”

El Reno has a handful of former baseball players who were drafted and played professionally.

El Reno’s most recent pro success is Hill’s son, Cameron, a 23-year-old relief pitcher in the Cleveland Indians organization.

He was limited by injuries in high school but still showed enough to be plucked with a 17th-round draft choice in 2014.

In late August, Hill was promoted from Double-A Akron to Triple-A Columbus. In parts of four pro seasons, he has a combined record of 16-11 with a superb 2.21 earned run average and 222 strikeouts in 252 2/3 innings.

Keith Hill is thrilled with his son’s potential. And he’s just as thrilled with the potential of the program that he is privileged to pilot next spring.

“We’re going to be pretty good, and now we have the nicest locker room we’ve ever had,” he said.