BRIDGEPORT, WV — The public got its first look at plans for the Bridgeport Indoor Sports and Recreation Complex and heard a presentation on what the facility and its grounds will contain during Monday night’s City Council meeting.
The $50 million, multi-use facility is planned for a site near the city’s current recreation complex on about 60 acres of a 125-acre property in the Charles Pointe development.
The project is on schedule to be open by “late summer or the early fall of 2020,” according to Bridgeport Mayor Andy Lang.
Richard Forren, senior project architect with Fairmont-based architectural firm Omni Associates, started Monday night’s presentation by giving a sense of the size of the building.
“It’s big,” he said. “But if I tell you that it’s 156,000 square feet, it’s still really hard to understand just how big it is. But when we compare it with something we know, it gives you an idea of just how big that facility is going to be.”
Forren showed an artist’s rendering of the complex superimposed on top of an image of Bridgeport High School’s Wayne Jamison Field, which showed the new facility’s gymnasium taking up the entire football field.
“You can see the building extends halfway into the parking lot and takes up part of Johnson Elementary,” Forren said. “So it is a big, big building.”
Kevin Armstrong of BRS Architecture detailed the features and uses of the building’s interior.
“Primarily the facility has three major program elements,” he said. “There is the gymnasium, which is a little more than 300 feet long — about the size of a football field.”
“It has six basketball courts, six volleyball courts and can also be used for pickle ball, mat sports and can also be used for community gathering,” Armstrong said.
“There’s a natatorium as well, which has a completion swimming pool as well as a community swimming pool.
“On the upper floor level of the building, you’ll find the indoor turf level of the building, and then there’s also a fitness center, which will have a group exercise studio.
“And then we have long running track that goes both around the gymnasium and then extends around the fitness area as well,” Armstrong said.
The gymnasium will be able to seat “600 plus,” according to Forren.
“We have fixed seating in there,” he said. “If there is a larger event, there is additional seating. We can bring seating in.”
The building features an “open” design, Armstrong said.
“When you’re in one part of the building, you see what’s going somewhere else; you can hear what’s going on somewhere else,” he said. “That way, it’s really active and inviting.”
The facility will also feature a cafe, Forren said.
Jim Christie, senior project manager for Civil & Environmental Consultants Inc., gave an overview of the exterior of the facility and its grounds.
The building will feature parking areas on either side, with a drop-off area in front of the entrance, Christie said.
“The idea is that we have all the vehicular traffic going in one direction, keeping that safe for pedestrians,” he said. “We also have crosswalks throughout.”
The plans for the grounds surrounding the complex were designed with future expansion in mind, Christie said.
“Your council and previous councils as well have really thought through this,” he said. “We’re not just looking at what we’re going to do currently, but how are we going to take this into the future as it grows.”
There will be four multi-purpose fields, along with concession facilities and restrooms, outside the complex along with additional parking, Christie said.
The facility will be linked to Bridgeport proper by a walking trail.
“We have a trail that will come through the neighborhoods,” he said. “It will start near Ridgeway and bring people through to Charles Pointe safely, and then it will loop the whole facility.”
The plans presented during Monday’s meeting may change as the planning process for the facility continues, Lang said.
“This is a concept of what we would like to see in the future,” he said. “It doesn’t mean it can’t be modified in the future. This isn’t set in stone by this council.”
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