The groundbreaking ceremony for Scheels Sports Park wasn’t just a pivotal moment for sports enthusiasts; it was a landmark event for the commercial construction industry in Springfield and the broader Midwest. This $67 million sports complex is set to become a state-of-the-art facility, offering both job opportunities and technological advancements in construction.
Springfield Mayor Misty Buscher, along with about 300 people from the local business community and government units, celebrated this groundbreaking event. The ceremony culminated years of planning and collaboration to create a 95-acre indoor and outdoor sports complex, expected to open by the end of 2025. For commercial construction professionals, this project represents an opportunity to showcase cutting-edge construction techniques and materials, setting a new standard for sports complexes.
The Illinois Times states that beyond its role as a sports venue, the complex is expected to be an economic catalyst for Springfield, generating an estimated $25 million a year in new spending. For the construction sector, this translates to job opportunities ranging from site engineers to skilled tradespeople, not to mention the ancillary jobs created in material supply and logistics
This project will change how Springfield sees Springfield. It’ll change how other people see Springfield,” said Ryan McCrady president and CEO of Springfield Sangamon Growth Alliance. “It’s a sign that we can achieve big things in our community when we work together between the public sector, the private sector, all the large governmental bodies (and) the financial institutions.”
The 95-acre complex poses unique engineering and design challenges, including the construction of lighted turf fields and a 190,000-square-foot air-supported dome. These features provide an opportunity for construction firms to innovate and solve problems, further elevating the industry’s standards.
The sports complex will be a state-of-the-art facility, offering both outdoor and indoor spaces. The outdoor areas will feature lighted turf fields. The site will also include an air-supported, inflated and domed structure for year-round indoor use.
The project’s unique public-private partnership model could serve as a blueprint for future commercial construction projects. Sales and hotel-motel taxes will cover about half of the construction costs, with the rest financed by developers and local banks. This collaborative funding approach may offer valuable insights for construction professionals involved in project financing and contract negotiation.
Springfield City Council recently dissolved the former South Central Business District to create a new one with a maximum 23-year lifespan that coincides with other economic incentives in the city’s agreement with Legacy Pointe Development.