Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy set to launch this fall

The Washington Nationals are excited to announce several major developments in the creation of the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy in Ward 7's Fort Dupont Park.

Ian Desmond steps up to the plate

Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond has signed on to champion the ongoing efforts of the Youth Baseball Academy. Desmond will serve as a member of the Academy's Board of Directors, allowing him to play a major role in stewarding the program's future.

Citing the power of using baseball as a means to develop life skills for young people, especially those in underserved communities, Desmond has long recognized the value of such initiatives. "I've known a lot of young people in my life who would have benefited from a program like this," he said. "I look forward to contributing to the Youth Baseball Academy and doing my part to make sure children around D.C. have the opportunities to succeed, on and off the baseball diamond."

Tal Alter takes the reins as executive director

District native Tal Alter began his tenure as Executive Director of the Youth Baseball Academy in April and has made an immediate impact on the development and implementation of the Academy's programming. Under Alter's direction, Higher Achievement Program has officially signed on as the academic programming consultant for the Academy and key relationships have been established with many programs and individuals who have a reputation for doing great work in Wards 7 and 8.

"This opportunity is both exciting and humbling," said Alter. "The Nationals Youth Baseball Academy has been entrusted with a great responsibility - to provide D.C. youth with a home away from home and a place where they can develop through constructive, nurturing and fun experiences with baseball and academics. The scholar-athletes who come through our doors deserve the very best, and they will get nothing less."

Prior to joining the Nationals, Alter served for nearly five years as Director of Operations for PeacePlayers International, a nonprofit that uses basketball as a vehicle to bridge divides, change perceptions, and develop leaders in areas of conflict throughout the world. He also previously worked six years with Positive Coaching Alliance, a Stanford University-based organization focused on transforming the culture of youth sports. Alter played baseball at Haverford College and has a Master's Degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he studied organizational leadership and non-profit management.

Turner Construction selected as general contractor

Turner Construction Company has been hired to manage construction of the Youth Baseball Academy, which is currently underway. Over the years, Turner has awarded contracts in excess of $1 billion to minority and woman-owned business enterprises and the company will extend this commitment to the Academy by utilizing at least 35% Certified Business Enterprises. In addition, the Academy will be designed and constructed to achieve LEED® Silver certification. Daily progress at the construction site can be followed at the following link - http://oxblue.com/open/washingtonnationals/youthbaseballacademy.

About the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy

Developed in partnership with the Government of the District of Columbia, the Youth Baseball Academy will operate as a year-round educational and athletic facility designed to address the needs of local youth in neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River. The nine-acre campus will include three baseball fields (two convertible youth baseball/softball fields and regulation baseball field) and an 18,000 square foot state-of-the-art educational facility featuring classrooms, community rooms, a teaching kitchen and indoor training facilities. The complex is currently scheduled to open in the fall of 2013.

The Academy is made possible through a unique federal, local and private sector alliance between the Dream Foundation and local political, civic and community leaders. The National Park Service provided nearly nine acres of land at Fort Dupont Park and the Government of the District of Columbia/Events DC made a generous grant for the project. Additional financial contributions have been made by the Dream Foundation, Major League Baseball and other corporate and philanthropic organizations. For additional information on the Youth Baseball Academy, please visit nationals.com/dream.