A $100M indoor sportsplex? Prince William Co. leaders are considering it

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner, InsideNoVa.com, and republished with permission. Sign up for InsideNoVa.com’s free email subscription today.

This article was republished with permission from WTOP’s news partner InsideNoVa.com. Sign up for InsideNoVa.com’s free email subscription today.

A concept drawing of a possible new indoor athletics facility and event space in Prince William County
Prince William County is considering the purchase of an indoor athletics facility that would feature an indoor pool, a running track and hard-surface courts that could be utilized by public schools and youth sports groups.

The Prince William Board of County Supervisors is considering entering into an agreement with a developer to construct a multimillion dollar athletics facility that would feature an indoor pool, a hydraulic running track and hard-surface courts for basketball, volleyball and pickleball.

While details on the project remain scant – the developer has yet to be publicly named – it appears the facility is proposed to be located somewhere along the Interstate 95 corridor in eastern Prince William. The county is considering a number of potential sites for the complex, said Seth Hendler-Voss, director of Prince William County’s Department of Parks and Recreation.

The complex could be the largest of its kind in Northern Virginia.

The board on Tuesday held a public comment session to solicit input from residents on the proposal. Those who spoke – including high school student athletes, an Olympic gold medalist in track, local coaches, sports league organizers and members of the pickleball community – endorsed the project. Several public school student athletes and coaches spoke of the lengthy travel times they endure to attend track meets since there isn’t a facility nearby.

The proposal states the developer intends to meet with Prince William Public Schools officials to provide opportunities to host sports competitions and events both on weekends and weekdays. Other youth sports groups, including wrestling and soccer, are also mentioned as potential users of the facility.

Beyond sports, the developer said the complex could be used for events like conventions, trade shows, graduations and community meetings.

Moving forward, the parks and recreation department will coordinate with the developer and engineering firm MEB to add a “lot more flesh on this bone” of a project, according to Hendler-Voss. Once finer details are hammered out, the proposal will return to the board for further deliberation.

The county would be on the hook for financing the project, for which a definitive price tag is uncertain. The $100 million estimate provided by the developer does not include the price of a parcel of land that may need to be purchased to make way for the facility. A $40 million parking garage, which also may be needed, was also not included in the pricing estimate.

This early in talks, it’s not clear how the county would approach financing the complex.

Outgoing Democratic board Chair Ann Wheeler spoke in support of the complex, expressing the need for what could be a destination athletic facility in the growing county.

“I won’t be here to vote on whatever this facility is, but I am hoping that the next board understands that this is a … visionary project,” she said. “It may not ever pay for itself or it may require support every year, but it’s something I believe the community really, really wants.”

Occoquan Supervisor Kenny Boddye, a Democrat, also championed the proposal.

“An indoor sports complex would be an investment in our families and future,” Boddye said. “As the father of a competitive cheerleader, I know firsthand the challenges of having to travel long distances for practices and tournaments. What’s more, each of those trips takes money that would be spent here into other communities. It is a missed opportunity.”

The board in 2019 considered an indoor sports complex as part of a bond referendum program for parks, but the proposal ultimately died because of cost concerns.

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