By no means is it official, but a local architecture firm released a sample rendering for what a $31 million downtown sports stadium might look like in Spokane.
The rendering fills a hole in the city’s pitch for a 5,000-capacity stadium, which originally didn’t offer the public any renderings. The lack of visuals contributed to some confusion for voters.
Trek Architecture proactively made the rendering with no approach from the city, and it took about a month of work, said Evan Verduin, principal architect at the firm.
Verduin, a proponent for a downtown stadium, said he made the rendering for free as a service to the public.
“As an architecture firm, we look for opportunities to be involved civically,” he said. “No one had a good idea of what it would look like.”
He said he wasn’t sure if he’d bid for the contract in a public bidding process, but “it would be right up our alley.”
The rendering drew the attention of Mayor David Condon.
“It gives an idea of how it fits,” he said. “It gives you an idea of what it could be. It’s not just a bunch of aluminum bleachers.”
Michael Cathcart, who is leading the campaign for the downtown stadium option, said he approached Verduin and asked him to recommend anyone who could make a rendering, but Verduin offered to do it himself.
Cathcart is executive director of Better Spokane, a nonprofit economic development group. He said people are sometimes leery of the stadium idea because they can’t visualize how it would fit in the space, which is on property owned by the Public Facilities District on the north bank of the Spokane River.
“Hopefully the rendering answers that,” he said.
And people are worried about having enough parking, too.
Cathcart said additional parking will be available from private lots close to the site.
“There’s not going to be a need for a tax-paid parking garage,” he said.
Cathcart also said some people are emotionally tied to Joe Albi Stadium, which was built in 1950 and has hosted the Seahawks, Washington State Cougars football team and countless local school games in all types of sports.
“The economic impacts are significant,” he said, and building a stadium downtown would allow for better organizing of events.
“The school district is not good at being event operators,” he said, and if the stadium goes downtown, then the PFD would contract with the district to plan games and events.
“That’s professionally what they do,” Cathcart said.
Voters will find an advisory vote on their ballots asking where the new stadium should be located. The two options: Keep it in northwest Spokane, where Joe Albi Stadium is located, or move the stadium downtown.
In both cases, the school district will pay $31 million for the stadium and it will host local high school games. That funding is part of a $495 million capital bond item that voters also will find on their ballots.