DANVILLE, Va. (WFXR) — As part of the Danville Otterbots’ dedication to providing a welcoming and inclusive ballpark for the entire community, the team plans to unveil the Appalachian League’s first sensory room in a special ceremony next week.

According to a statement shared by the team’s general manager on Thursday, April 21, the sensory room will provide opportunities for children with sensory sensitivities, as well as their families, to enjoy Otterbots games and non-baseball ballpark events throughout the year.

“While some fans look forward to the sights, sounds and smells of being at the ballpark, those who are averse to the traditional hustle and bustle of baseball games will now have the opportunity to cheer on the Otterbots all season long,” Thursday’s release stated.

Officials say the Otterbots ballpark sensory room — which is located on the concourse in the right field Kids Zone — is equipped with cuddle swings, fidget boards, soft LED lights, wall-to-wall padding, uniquely textured rugs, sound-deadening headphones, comfortable chairs, sensory-friendly fidget toys. There is also a blackout curtain, which can be opened to reveal a window overlooking the Kids Zone, allowing parents to maintain a view of non-sensory averse family members or friends while in the sensory room.

“Since our first day in Danville, our goal has been to build a product and atmosphere that provides entertainment for every single member of our community, and every visitor to Danville and the Southside Virginia region,” said Otterbots general manager Austin Scher. “We took tremendous strides towards reaching that goal in our inaugural season, but we knew we still had work to do. By constructing a sensory room on the concourse, we are now able to provide opportunities for children and families with sensory aversions to enjoy the ballpark and have a space dedicated to ensuring that their enjoyment is comprehensive.”

According to Thursday’s announcement, the ballpark sensory room is presented by The Hughes Center, who partnered with the Otterbots to outfit the space with appropriate activities and infrastructure to accommodate all levels of need. The materials were provided in-part by Columbia Forest Products, with construction completed by Luca Cicilese — an Otterbots spring ballpark operations intern, U.S. military veteran, and civil engineer.

“The Hughes Center is excited to partner with the Otterbots to create this awesome addition to the baseball stadium,” said Alison Waymouth, director of business development for The Hughes Center. “The sensory room will be another piece of inclusion added to the park that welcomes and supports everyone in our local community while also extending a warm welcome to surrounding areas. Our goal is to have an outlet for all to have a positive, relaxing and accommodating experience. The noise and excitement at a game can be overwhelming, but the sensory room offers a place to reset and make it more enjoyable and accessible for everyone.”

Otterbots officials tell WFXR News that Danville’s American Legion Field will be the first park in the Appalachian League to have a dedicated sensory-friendly room inside the gates, as well as one of few in non-MLB ballparks, with the others including the Brooklyn Cyclones, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, and Rochester Red Wings.

The Southern Virginia community is invited to attend the sensory room ribbon-cutting ceremony on the right field concourse at 10 a.m. on Friday, April 29. Parking is available in the main lot. You are asked to send all RSVPs and inquiries to austin@danvilleotterbots.com.

As the June 2 Opening Night draws closer, the Otterbots plan to share more news in the coming weeks about ballpark improvements and community programming.

Single-game tickets will be available in early May, but season tickets, flex packs, group outings, and corporate partnerships are already available for the 2022 season. For more information, call 434-554-4487, email austin@danvilleotterbots.com, or stop by the front office.