Project Category : Public Recreation
Total Construction Cost : $20 million
Total Gross Square Feet : 135,000
Approximate Cost Per Square Foot : $148
How was the facility funded? : Government funds
Project Description :
One can find beauty in the function, efficiency, and longevity of the sportsplexs design. A central spine connects two control points into the building. This accomplishes three main objectives:
- Improves security
- Limits the number of support staff required
- Provides intuitive navigation for visitors.
Shared amenities are key to the facilitys efficiency. A community room at the front of the building acts as a focal point for entry into the facility. It provides a shared component available for use as part of the sports programming within the building, or it can function independently on non-game days for a variety of events from birthday parties to chamber of commerce meetings.
The Hammond Sportsplex & Community Centerâ€TMs design is about versatility and maximizing the use of space for multiple sports and events. It is adaptable for various sports including basketball, volleyball, soccer, fusbal, flag football, and pickleball for youths and adults alike. The walking track is home for a free Walking Club with over 3,400 people signing waivers to join. The walking track provides a community asset for Hammond while also encouraging fitness and sport activity among multiple generations. The Walking Club and the pickleball offerings supports an active lifestyle among older populations. According to a report of the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, 75% of core pickleball players are age 55 and older. A 2015 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that walking groups contribute to wide-ranging benefits for seniors, including significant improvements in lung strength, blood pressure, body fat, resting heart rate, and body mass index.
The facility functions as an entertainment and community events venue in Hammond by hosting events such as Chicagoland Veterans Stand Down for veterans; a fundraising gala for the Challenger Center of Northwest Indiana, a premier science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education facility; and the 2019 NFL Draft Pick/Youth Combine during which Mayor McDermott Jr. announced NFL draft picks for the Los Angeles Chargers, Dallas Cowboys, New York Jets, and Houston Texans. The facility also will host the 2020 graduation of Purdue University Northwest. The sportsplex serves as an all-purpose entertainment facility that is building a stronger sense of connectivity and community in Hammond. The following list highlights Sportsplex successes in achieving active regional participation for local residents in its first year of operation.
Clearly, the Sportsplex provides maximum usability within the 135,000-sft facility. 6,7000+ waivers signed by local basketball and volleyball players 3,400 waivers signed by walking club members 800+ waivers signed by local soccer players 60+ soccer teams competed in local leagues 32 One-Day Shootout basketball tournaments Hosted 50+ events in the community room, including birthday parties, graduations, showers, and quinceaneras to board and chamber of commerce meetings.
The opening of the Union Lounge in October 2019 adds another dimension to the facility a social gathering space for the community. Sportsplex staff recognized a need for transforming an underutilized space adjacent to the walking track into a lounge where walkers and area residents gather to enjoy coffee and soft drinks during the day. In the evenings and weekends, patrons may enjoy adult beverages. Seventeen union and trade organizations aligned with the Sportplex staffs vision to raise funds and donate labor to make Union Lounge a reality. The lounge also features seven large video screens for patrons to enjoy live telecasts of sporting and entertainment events. Union Lounge now offers a place for visitors and residents to socialize, meet people, and build a stronger community environment for the entire neighborhood.
The Hammond Sportsplex & Community Centerâ€TMs interior finishes were chosen for their longevity and durability. The facility is designed and built for function. The team chose affordable, durable materials, such as precast and concrete floors that are easily maintained. This helps minimize the operating cost. For the interiors of the volleyball, soccer, and basketball courts, the design team chose a neutral palate as a backdrop for the logos on the court and for sponsorship banners hung throughout the facility. This places the emphasis on the inherent beauty and heritage of the hardwood basketball court.
Pulling from the waves of Lake Michigan and the trademark of a turf field, subtle variations in blue and green paint transform the structural precast into an artistâ€TMs canvas without increasing the project budget. The structure makes effective use of skylights and daylight harvesting in strategic areas to bring the outside in, particularly in the central spine and the community center.
The design team continued using variations in the blue and green color palate from the interior to create a modern, budget-driven community art piece on the exterior. Fighting the urge to disguise and break-up the scale of the precast fasade, this design team recommended an affordable solution to transform the monumental scale of a large precast building into a canvas for community artwork. The City embraced this design approach and went one step further using the variations in color panels as inspiration to design a logo for the facility and branded content The design team pulled inspiration from the sporting areas inside the building and context from the Northwest Indiana region to inform the facilitys exterior. The greens on the exterior relate to the green turf inside the building. The wood at the facilitys entrance harkens to the wood flooring of the basketball court. The blue hues represent the blue of the nearby Lake Michigan. The exterior also uses three main materials precast, profile metal panel, and wood - that represent the larger functional interior spaces to convey activities inside the building. The metal panel at the front and the back of the building are wayfinding cues to funnel spectators into the central spine of the building.
Key elements of the site plan include providing direct access to a main thoroughfare and a nearby interstate. Easy access to interstate travel served as a key consideration given that Mayor McDermott envisioned the sportsplex as a major regional and national draw that would spark economic development along Indianapolis Boulevard and promote tourism to the city. A 2018 study by Wintergreen Research Inc. shows that youth sports is a $15.5 billion market in the United States rivaling the size of the $14 billion NFL. The site is a prime location that also rejuvenated the site of an abandoned mall demolished in 2006. After the sportsplex open, the city demolished an adjacent building that housed a failed major department store retailer. The City has plans to leverage the draw of the Sportsplex and replacing the failed department store with a hotel, retail, and restaurants. The site preserved alley space to the north of the Sportsplex to prepare for easy access to future development.
To help fund the facility, the City of Hammond received an $8.7 million loan guarantee from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. Receiving this funding required the City to include a community center type meeting room and a walking track in the facilityâ€TMs design. Proceeds from a tax increment financing district cover the remaining costs. The design utilizes simple materials to manage the cost. Precast concrete is highly affordable and durable, making it long-lasting and relatively easy for the City to maintain. Likewise, interior materials were chosen fortheir affordability and durability.