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Here's an inside look at the Podium, Spokane's $53 million sports facility

Spokane’s newest sports facility has two national championships booked for next year. The Podium is set to generate revenue in tourism and employment opportunities.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Construction on the Podium, Spokane’s newest sports facility, is complete. Organizers say that the $53 million project will bring major sporting events to Spokane.

The first of those events has been announced as the 2022 US Track and Field Indoor Championships set for February of next year. The event could bring in millions of dollars in what some in Spokane's tourism industry call "free money."

The Spokane Sports Commission reported that the Podium could generate an additional $33 million a year in direct tourism. This also contributes to about $1.7 million in state tax revenue. The Podium will also provide new job opportunities once the doors officially open.

One of the biggest benefits of the Podium is its location on W. Dean Avenue in downtown Spokane, as well as its capabilities in hosting large spectator events and catering to the specific needs of tournaments. It also has the space to host a number of courts or fields.

Some of the features of the Podium that make it stand out from Spokane’s other sports facilities include its immense indoor track.  At 78,000 square feet, 360 feet long and 250 feet wide, the hydraulic banked “oval” track boasts 60-meter sprint lanes, two pole vault areas, long jump and triple jump areas, and throw sectors for shot put and weighted throws.

Some additional features include a warm-up room with a 90-meter track and other preparation materials for athletes.

“I’ve been involved in it since the beginning, the whole design concept and everything else” Spokane District Event Manager Ryan Ford said. “So, to see this project finally come to the finish line here, to use a track terminology, it’s pretty remarkable.”

Track won’t be the only sport featured at the new facility. According to organizer Eric Sawyer, many unique sporting events will be showcased at the Podium, such as karate championships and wrestling tournaments. Traditional sports like volleyball and basketball will be featured as well.

“We’re looking at everything from cheerleading events to badminton, table tennis,” Sawyer said. “You name it, we want to do it in this building because that’s really what is was designed to do.”

The first event at the new facility will be happening Dec. 11.