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Friday, October 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Sportsplex to cost $10 million more than initial estimate due to rising construction costs

The Spokane Regional Sportsplex, an indoor sports facility designed to host national and local athletic events on a site just across the river from downtown Spokane, could cost about $10 million more than officials initially estimated.

The project was initially projected to cost $42 million, but increases in the cost of steel, concrete and labor pushed the price tag between $52 and $53 million, said Stephanie Curran, CEO of the Spokane Public Facilities District.

The district will own and operate the Sportsplex when it’s complete.

The district also owns and operates Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, the INB Performing Arts Center and the Spokane Convention Center.

The Sportsplex is designed as a venue for a large variety of sports and will have a 200-meter, six-lane indoor hydraulic banked track, 17 volleyball courts, 10 basketball courts and 21 wrestling mats.

“It’s hard to get subcontractors because there’s so much work, so everything is more expensive,” Curran said.

“It’s good for the economy, but hard for us.”

The facilities district asked county commissioners for $25 million in bonds last year to fund the project, but after costs increased, they asked for $35 million.

County commissioners unanimously approved $35 million in bonds Tuesday afternoon.

The facilities district has until 2043 to repay the county.

County Commissioner Al French said the county is the fiscal agent for the facilities district, meaning the county must approve financing decisions made at the district.

He said the 180,000-square-foot Sportsplex will also bring economic benefits to the area.

“It’s a regional facility, it will bring tourism dollars and revenue to the county, as well as the city,” French said.

Brittany Garwood, finance director for the facilities district, said the district will repay the county with sales-and-use taxes and lodging taxes.

She said debt payments and revenue levels are on track to repay the bonds by the deadline.

Curran said construction costs in the last several years have gone up about 20% and construction costs in the public sector have gone up even higher.

She acknowledged the district could have designed the Sportsplex to be smaller and less expensive, but said that would have undermined the purpose of the building and the district’s ability to market and sell event space.

She said the NCAA has rules about the size of venues, and a smaller project may not have been able to attract national events and the tens of millions in tourism revenue it was designed to bring in.

Curran said the project is in the design phase and that she is waiting for an exact cost from the contractor.

The cost will be split among four groups.

Spokane County will pay for $35 million in bonds, the public facilities district will contribute about $11 million from reserves, the state will contribute $1 million, and the city of Spokane will pay $5 million and provide a 5-acre parcel of land, Curran said.

The Sportsplex project is unrelated to a proposal for a new outdoor high school football stadium that voters turned down last year.

Curran said the district intends to break ground on the Sportsplex in November or December.

The facility should be open to the public by summer 2021, she said.

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