BLAINE, Minn. – (May 10, 2018) – The National Sports Center is full of activity. With spring sports finally underway the campus is buzzing. But, the sports center is also busy with facility upgrades.
“Well the national sport center is getting into the court sports business,” said Barclay Kruse of the National Sports Center. “We’re installing a Beachwood basketball court and volleyball courts so there’ll be two basketball courts, two volleyball courts and we can also convert it into one big center court configuration with NBA style baskets.”
The new courts are in the Sports Expo Center which has been home to trade shows as well as indoor turf sports. With the new courts in the building will take on a new role while remaining flexible.
“We were doing a fair number of trade shows and consumer shows, we’ll be backing away from that somewhat, not eliminating it completely,” Kruse said. “It’s also used for things like the soccer storage during USA Cup, and we do a lot of vendor booths during USA Cup, that’ll stay, the court can come in and out, it can be taken out and reinstalled within one day at each end and we will also keep turf in here during the seasons when there’s high demand for soccer, lacrosse and baseball training.”
There is a huge demand for court space in the north metro and the sports center has been receiving calls to book court time before the court even was installed. This is designed to be a test for a potential larger court sports facility in the future.
“We are very interested in exploring the feasibility of building a larger court facility and possibly an aquatic facility,” Kruse said. “The national sport center would need a partner to work with us, we do not have the financial resources to build, say eight or ten court basketball facilities all by ourselves.”
The new courts are not the only facility enhancement debuting this spring.
“We installed two full-sized artificial turf fields in the National Sports Center Stadium, the turf went in last fall, what didn’t get done before the snow came was the sand and rubber infill, so as soon as the blizzard from a couple of weeks ago melted off, the contractors been working all week long to lay down and groom the infill.”
In the same way as the new courts could just be the start of court space at the National Sports Center, more turf fields could be in the future as well.
“We’re on a mission to develop as many as perhaps twelve artificial turf fields on our campus, what artificial turf gives us is the ability to start earlier in the spring, to go later in the fall, if we have lights like we do in the stadium we could play late into the night in the late fall and get many more hours of play,” Kruse said.
Turf fields also provide flexibility as paint lines can be erased and redrawn to make the fields adaptable for multiple sports and configurations. Both the new courts and the turf field were financed without outside money.
“One Important thing to say is that both of these projects, the stadium turf and the basketball court facility are financed by the National Sports Center and we’re going to pay off the debt by user revenue, neither of these are state bonding projects,” Kruse said.
The turf and courts will be ready for play in May.