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Plans Unveiled For Capital Sports Center

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The architectural images for the aquatic center at the new, proposed Capital Sports Center.

The city of Charleston and the Kanawha County Commission announced plans Wednesday to turn buildings connected to the aging Town Center Mall in Charleston into the Capital Sports Center.

The facility will have 247,000 square feet of space for activities, including an aquatic center with a 50 meter Olympic-size swimming pool, basketball courts, volleyball courts, an indoor turf field and pickleball.

Watch the video below from ZMM Architects to see how the proposed Capital Sports Center is expected to look:

ZMM Proposed Capital Sports Center

The city and county leaders, alongside U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, cited a sports tourism study that showed the economic impact sports can have on a region and the need for a single indoor facility to host large regional and national events.

“In order to position our capital city to attract top-tier, revenue generating events and the associated economic impact, we must have the necessary facilities to compete, “ Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin said. “Through the proposed Capital Sports Center, we will have the opportunity to attract major regional or national swimming, volleyball, basketball and pickleball events. In addition to the economic impact of sports tourism, this facility will also provide our young athletes with a state-of-the-art facility in which to train — better preparing them to compete in collegiate athletics or other sports opportunities they may want to pursue.”

“I am so excited to announce our partnership with the City of Charleston to build the Capital Sports Center,” Kanawha County Commissioner Ben Salango said. “Youth sports tourism is a booming industry, and this indoor facility will enable us to compete on a national level. This state-of-the-art, 247,000 square foot facility will have a significant economic impact for our local businesses and economy. With the incredible success of the Shawnee Sports Complex, Kanawha County and the City of Charleston are well positioned to be leaders in sports tourism.”

The Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau, with funds received through the City of Charleston’s federal COVID-relief funds, contracted with The Huddle Up Group to conduct an audit of the current sports tourism work of the CCVB and an analysis of the area’s sporting venues.

The study identified facility enhancement/development as an opportunity to grow sports tourism in Charleston. More specifically, it noted the importance of having “anchor” and “tournament friendly” facilities to attract “top tier participant focused championships and their related tourism dollars.”

Charleston and Kanawha County partnered with ZMM Architects & Engineers to do draft renderings for proposed sites in downtown Charleston, Kanawha City and North Charleston.

The plan will cost an estimated $80 million and will be paid for with a combination of private donations and a potential excess levy where the government would sell bonds against the debt and they would be paid off by income from the facility.

The mall itself will not be part of the construction. Plans involve taking part of one parking building down and turning the Macy’s building that is attached to the mall into the aquatic center.

Read the full strategic plan below:

News Director, edouglas@wvpublic.org, 304-556-4946, @AppalachiaEric

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