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‘The Podium’ is new name of indoor sports complex under construction downtown

UPDATED: Mon., Aug. 31, 2020

The Spokane Sportsplex, taking shape downtown north of the river, has been renamed “The Podium.”  (DAN PELLE/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
The Spokane Sportsplex, taking shape downtown north of the river, has been renamed “The Podium.” (DAN PELLE/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

Spokane’s indoor sports complex under construction downtown is now “The Podium.”

The 135,000-square-foot, $53 million building is expected to be complete in fall 2021. Previously known as the Sportsplex, the facility will include a 200-meter banked hydraulic track, basketball and volleyball courts and wrestling mats. The Podium will have seating for up to 4,000 spectators, and its construction is coinciding with completion of a regional playground to the south, the final significant project left to complete as part of the redevelopment of Riverfront Park.

Funding for the sports complex is coming from multiple sources, including bonds sold by Spokane County, money from the city of Spokane and reserves held by the Public Facilities District. The project is separate from a planned outdoor stadium nearby that voters rejected in 2018.

The Podium name was chosen because of its ties to the medal ceremony at sporting events and the facility’s position on a 15-foot-tall basalt rock outcropping overlooking Riverfront Park and downtown Spokane.

“We’re going to do something unique. It’s a departure from safe,” said Stephanie Curran, the district’s chief executive officer, of the name.

The Spokane-based marketing firm helveticka recommended the name Podium to the Public Facilities District board at a meeting in early August. Board members noted that the previous name for the facility, the Sportsplex, is a common moniker for facilities nationwide, and members wanted the Spokane facility to be distinguishable from other sports buildings.

“We didn’t want to just name it a sportsplex. That’s a place where you drop your kids off to play, and if you Google ‘sportsplex,’ there’s thousands and thousands of them,” Curran said.

The first event at the Podium was intended to be the USA Track & Field Masters indoor championships in March 2022. That event has been delayed a year to 2023 after this year’s championships were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Curran said the Spokane Sports Commission, which is working to provide programming in the new facility, is eyeing a replacement event for spring 2022 that will be even bigger, but she did not have details yet on what that event would be.

The chief executive said she’s seen some criticism of the name online but believed that marketing of the building to national organizations would benefit from a name that stood out.

The Public Facilities District anticipates about 1 in 5 events held at the Podium will be locally run, with the rest rented out by national firms like USA Track & Field .

“Other cities just don’t have this,” she said.

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