The HUB Sports Center in Liberty Lake recently announced it has agreed to purchase its building from the Inland Northwest Community Foundation for $3.2 million, which allows the sports facility to continue providing athletic activities and expand its youth outreach programs.
An anonymous donor in 2011 created a fund with the foundation to support youth programs and charitable causes. They requested the first disbursement go toward purchasing the HUB, which occurred at a time when the facility was breaking even.
“We had been leasing the property and the community foundation came to us and said (the donor) wants to help you have more stability and give you five years to run a capital campaign to buy the building back,” said Phil Champlin, executive director of the HUB. “Myself and my board agreed it was a tremendous opportunity and to take advantage of it.”
The foundation established an organization to buy the 66,000-square-foot facility for $3.2 million in 2012. The HUB paid rent to the foundation while it raised funds from donors and grants to purchase the building through a capital campaign.
In December, the HUB made a $1.6 million payment toward the purchase and by mid-2018, they will have paid off another $1.3 million. Purchasing the building guarantees predictability of monthly expenses necessary to keep the building operating.
“The generosity of the anonymous donor, together with the HUB’s perseverance to raise funds to purchase the building, ensures our community has a great multi-use facility for years to come,” Shelly O’Quinn, CEO at the foundation, said in a release. “Additionally, funds from the sale of the building will be permanently endowed and redistributed to support youth programs and other charitable causes in our community, year after year.”
The foundation has awarded $65 million in grants as scholarships since its inception in 1974. It serves 10 Eastern Washington and 10 Idaho counties. It manages 489 funds with $114 million in assets.
The HUB is a multi-use sports facility that opened in 2007 and contains five basketball courts, two aerobic studios as well as open workout spaces. It’s the third largest indoor sports venue behind the Spokane Arena and the McCarthey Athletic Center. It hosts community classes, youth sports practices, an after-school program for at-risk youth, tournaments and leagues for the YMCA, Spokane AAU, USA Boxing and the Spokane Sports Commission.
The HUB has operated with a positive cash flow since 2011, generated about $7 million in economic impact and drew more than 180,000 visitors last year.
Once the building is purchased, the HUB plans to reinvest into youth outreach programs and community events. It is planning a police activity league this summer that will have law enforcement visit the facility and interact with elementary kids.
“It’s such a fantastic building, there’s so many things that we do in here,” Champlin said. “It’s more than just basketball and volleyball. Kids are learning life lessons through sports.”
Champlin said there’s definitely a need and demand for the HUB’s facility and classes, especially during the winter months.
“When it’s cold out, we provide a safe haven. We accommodate almost everything and everybody,” he said. “There may be people that maybe have never heard of us. We encourage them to come check it out and see all that it is we do and how we impact this community in a positive way.”
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