BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — The Bridge Sports Complex in Bridgeport kicked off its Grand Opening Weekend with a private event Friday evening, during which state officials, including Gov. Jim Justice, city officials and facility leadership were featured speakers.
Following a reception and VIP tours of the complex, City Councilman Dustin Vincent opened the evening’s ceremonies.
Justice said the community should be proud of all the phenomenal things happening in North Central West Virginia, including The Bridge Sports Complex.
“This facility is an accomplishment beyond belief,” he said. “I’ve been a coach for forever. I love kids beyond good sense, and what you’re doing right here will stimulate not only the growth and maturing of kids, not only will it give so much opportunity to kids, but it will drive your entire community.
“You will absolutely grow with this and prosper like you can’t imagine.”
Jason Clement, CEO of Sports Facilities Companies, said that in the firm’s 18-year history, he has worked with more than 2,000 communities that have had an idea to build a sports and event recreation center.
“Very few of those communities are able to pull something off. And even less of those, almost none, are able to pull something off as beautiful as this,” Clement said. “What makes Bridgeport different? Special? How did we arrive here today? We get to see a lot of communities, and, ultimately, I came up with two words: Leadership and wisdom.
“A lot of people think wisdom is just about being intelligent and smart, but it’s also really about knowing how to make the right decisions consistently. To arrive at this place today and in this facility, I am grateful for those that were in the room making those decisions — both the hard ones and unpopular. That leadership is what has gotten us here today.”
In a video presentation, Councilman Bob Greer said the sports complex was not only wanted, but needed.
“I think we are meeting some needs that have been in the community for a long time,” he said. “We have people from our community that travel every weekend to go and do something on a turf, play ball or swim. And we thought, ‘Well, why not turn that around and have them come here and fill our hotels and our restaurants on the weekends?’”
Mayor Andy Lang said the sports complex has been in the works for several years, noting the idea was born during a discussion about the need for an indoor walking track other than the mall.“We are very proud to have this facility,” he said. “This is for Bridgeport, for Harrison County and for North Central West Virginia. …This is for us, but it’s also for the next generation and the generation after that.
“We are a multi-use facility with room to grow, and this is really going to up the game for the way of life here in North Central West Virginia.”
Design work on the $60 million project began in 2017, according to officials.
State-of-the-art amenities for a variety of sports and fitness activities are among the facility’s offerings, including:
— A fitness center, elevated walking track, cardio and strength equipment, free weights and group fitness classes.
— A nearly 3,500-square-foot indoor turf field for year-round soccer, lacrosse and flag football, with retractable batting cages with pitching machines for baseball and softball.
— A 10-lane competition swimming pool and a recreation warm-up pool.
— Six hardwood courts suitable for basketball, volleyball and pickleball.
— An indoor “Clip n Climb” area, featuring over 30 indoor climbing walls and an auto-belay system.
— Meeting and event spaces, a cafe and concessions and an outdoor turf field.
The Bridge is scheduled to hold an open house celebration from 9 a.m. to noon today, during which guests will have the opportunity to participate in competitions and try the Clip n’ Climb area and a free group fitness class.
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