February 7, 2013
Rockford Indoor Sports Campus Approved By Rockford City Council
Financing Approved, Sink Combs Dethlefs Hired, Opening in 2014
One of the largest indoor amateur sports complexes in the Midwest will open its doors on the banks of the Rock River in downtown Rockford, Ill. in 2014. The 115,000 sq. foot riverfront complex will feature eight basketball courts, at least 14 volleyball courts, an extreme sports park, children's play area, riverwalk, and more. On Monday, Jan. 28 the Rockford City Council approved financing for the project and hired Sink Combs Dethlefs, a nationally renowned athletic facility design firm, to lead the project's architectural and engineering team, along with a team of local architectural and engineering firms serving as sub-consultants on the project team.
"This project will act as a spring board for our community - propelling us to the next level in attracting amateur sports tournaments and tournaments to the Rockford community," said Rockford Mayor Lawrence J. Morrissey. "This complex will cement our reputation as a premier sporting destination in the Midwest, spur downtown development, generate new tax revenue and grow jobs. Our council is to be commended for their leadership in advancing this proposal with a unanimous vote, as well as the commitment made by the State of Illinois, Rockford Park District and Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau in making this a reality."
The downtown sports complex is one of four projects included in the region's Reclaiming First master plan for sports tourism. Additionally, the region is advancing the modernization and expansion of its existing Indoor Sports Center and Sportscore One and Two complexes.
City officials are working to finalize a construction timeline, with an anticipated opening by fall 2014. The Rockford Park District will operate the complex and the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau will lead sales, marketing and booking of the complex for amateur sports tournaments.
About the Complex
The city-owned former Ingersoll manufacturing complex sits on the banks of the Rock River in downtown Rockford, across from Davis Festival Park. The 115,000 square foot building, built in phases between 1941 and 1967, will become a multi-court, hard surface, air-conditioned facility and will create an opportunity to host hard surface sports events that the region is currently unable to accommodate. It is anticipated that the complex will host 30+ tournaments per year, in addition to use by local citizens.
Sink Combs Dethlefs
A thorough process to select the design team took place. A team representing the City of Rockford, Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, Rockford Park District, City of Loves Park, and Reclaiming First stakeholders reviewed 11 proposals and then narrowed the field down to four. Sink Combs Dethlefs (SCD), a sports recreation architectural firm from Chicago, www.sinkcombs.com, will lead the chosen team.
"SCD has assembled a phenomenal team to make our vision a reality," said Patrick Zuroske, City of Rockford Capital Program Manager. "We are excited to be working with a nationally recognized leader in sports facility planning and design. With more than 50 years of experience, their state-of-the-art facilities can be found all over the country and Canada."
The SCD team includes the local architectural firm of Larson & Darby (architectural and structural); civil engineers McClure Engineering and Missman - both of Rockford; recreational planner and landscape architect, Hitchcock Design Group; mechanical engineers, KJWW; sustainability design firm, Conservation Design Forum; skate park designer, Spohn Ranch; Duray, a food service design firm; WJHW, audio/visual systems; and consultants to assist with acoustics and marketing analysis.
Additionally, the Reclaiming First plan calls for the outdoor fields at Sportscore Two to be expanded and updated by adding multi-sport fields, lighting and artificial turf. All volleyball and basketball activities currently at the Indoor Sports Center will be moved to the downtown complex. An additional artificial turf soccer field will be added to the existing Indoor Sports Center building, and the building will be expanded to house three additional soccer fields (five total).
Furthermore, Sportscore One will be upgraded to modernize and refresh the complex. Upgrades at the Sportscore complexes will bring the facilities up to current industry standards, increase day and seasonal playing time, eliminate many weather related cancellations and delays, and expand tournament capacity by allowing for longer seasons and accommodating new sports such as lacrosse or rugby.
The process of networking with national, regional, and local tournament organizers to discuss using Ingersoll for future tournaments is underway. Many have actually toured the facility and have expressed excitement over the project. These organizers include basketball, volleyball, wrestling, dance, and others. RACVB continues to reach out to additional organizers that cover such sports as cheerleading, tumbling, adapted sports, and action sports (i.e., rock climbing, BMX, skateboarding, etc.).
"Our region has a reputation of being a leader in amateur sports," said John Groh, RACVB's president/CEO. "In order to further meet our citizens' needs and compete in the tourism market we need to upgrade our facilities. We are excited about the Reclaiming First initiative and know it has the potential to secure Rockford as the number one amateur sporting destination."
"I am pleased that the City Council has moved this important project forward," said Tim Dimke, executive director of the Rockford Park District. "Everyone involved with this initiative recognizes this is a priority for our community and is working together to bring the project to a successful completion."
The goal is to begin construction on the downtown Ingersoll project in 2013 with the facility ready for use in 2014. The project team hopes to finalize the necessary funding for Sportscore One and Two and the Indoor Sports Center in 2013.
For more information:
Reclaiming First: www.reclaimingfirst.org.