Sports Commission wants to build $25M field house

SPOKANE, Wash. - With State B just wrapped up and the Lilac City hosting the second and third rounds of the NCAA regional tournaments next week, Spokane's sports schedule is packed this month.

Recognizing there are a great deal of regional sporting events held in the area, the Spokane Sports Commission is moving forward with plans to build a $25 million field house on the north bank of the Spokane River between Howard and Washington. The goal of the new field house would be to help Spokane recruit large national sporting events and help local programs grow.

The sports commission estimates the complex could bring in an additional $15 million to $20 million in revenue to Spokane annually.

During March, with State B, the Pacific Northwest Volleyball Qualifier and the NCAA tournament, the city stands to gain up to $15 million in March alone.

"We seem to have our own March Madness around here," Eric Sawyer with the Spokane Sports Commission said.

Sawyer said that if the field house is built, the amount of revenue the city would see would increase exponentially.

"Right now we have identified close to 300 events that we can't host because we don't have the kind of venue that can support us, so this is a great opportunity for us to position us on a national level," he said.

The field house would be a venue for indoor track meets, basketball and wrestling. It's been in the works for several years but now they're starting to move forward since the Spokane parks board recently gave the venue the green light.

"For them to say to us, yes, we see this as part of what the north bank experience should be, as part of the master planning, it's important to have a foot print, it's important to have a place to say this is where the facility would be," Sawyer said.

The commission hopes to ask lawmakers to set aside $250,000 in their capital budget for design work.

"What we are trying to do is bridge the gap between concepts, which we have now, what it would look like and bridge the gap to more specific design elements," Sawyer said.

The field house comes with a hefty price tag so, over the next few months, the sports commission hopes to come out with a financing plan, which might include a future levy.