SPOKANE, Wash — Two future sports complexes downtown - one already being constructed and one still sitting as a possible proposal - have been confused by some people as the future of Spokane sports takes shape.
The two projects are the Spokane Sportsplex, which has already broken ground, and a potential Downtown High School Sports Stadium that would replace Joe Albi Stadium
Both complexes are or would be located near the Spokane Arena and Spokane River downtown, but that's about where the similarities end.
So, let's take a look at the facts for both of these projects, and what makes them different.
The Spokane Sportsplex is already under construction, located near the Spokane Arena. It is a project headed by the Spokane Public Facilities District and the Spokane Sports Commission.
It will have the capability to host a variety of sports, although its main purpose will be hosting indoor track and field. Other sports that could possibly be held at the complex include volleyball, basketball, wrestling as well as a general use floor.
The Sportsplex will stand at 135,000 square feet with 72,000 square feet of floor space.
Construction costs are estimated at $53 million.
The Sportsplex is projected to open August 2021, with it already being scheduled to host the 2022 U.S. Track and Field Master's. It is also expected to host various NCAA and professional sports.
Tourism is also expected to be positively impacted by the Sportsplex, with the following projections being made:
- 18-23,000 additional visitors to Spokane a year
- 26-46,000 additional hotel visitors to Spokane a year
- $19-33 million in additional tourism spending a year
- $1-1.7 million in increased taxes a year
Downtown High School Stadium
It should be noted that the project doesn't really have a name yet, we are just referring to it as the Downtown High School Stadium as shorthand. It would also be located near the Spokane Arena.
The stadium would replace Joe Albi Stadium, which would be renovated and repaired if a downtown stadium doesn't happen.
The stadium has already been voted on by the people - and they rejected it with a 65 percent vote.
But according to Spokane County Treasurer, the Spokane Public Schools Board could vote on putting the decision on the ballot again, with voters this time being informed that the downtown sports stadium would be $2 million cheaper than rebuilding Joe Albi Stadium.
With new board members after last November's election, voters could be making this decision again.
The stadium would mainly be used for football, but could be used for other sports, much like the current usage of Joe Albi.
Joe Albi, which is currently too big for the events hosted there and in need of repairs, would then be converted into recreational fields geared toward youth sports.
One idea that was thrown around but was shot down was to build the Sportsplex in such a way high school football could be played there, but this won't be happening.