By BRADEN LAMMERS
JEFFERSONVILLE — The plan to construct a multi-sport complex off of Charlestown Pike in Jeffersonville just got larger.
Plans presented to the Jeffersonville Parks Authority Board on March 18 expanded the proposed multi-sport activities center, with soccer and football fields and a multiuse indoor facility, on the property currently owned by the Clark County Soccer Association.
“We’ve doubled the space,” said Matt Gullo, architect for Kovert-Hawkins. “That allows for a lot more flexibility.”
Changes to the original plan would nearly double the size of the indoor, multi-sport complex from 20,400 square feet to about 37,000 square feet. The expansion would take away about 40 parking spaces from the site.
The new plan also gave a new name to the proposed project — the Jeffersonville Activities Multiplex Center, or JAM Center.
“The market right now is very attractive for building,” said James Lake, architect with Kovert-Hawkins, on why the planners decided to move forward with the expanded facility. “We’re going to be able to build the expansion for a lot less money upfront … which right now is a fraction of what the expansion would be if we would add to it in the future.”
Lake explained the expansion plans were part of the project from the start.
Because of the cost savings expected to be realized on the project, planners decided to offer to the parks authority to do the expansion now.
In addition, by building the larger facility, the building would be made out of precast concrete instead of being a metal structure, which would make it a stronger building and easier to construct quickly, Lake said.
The space available inside the building was also a determining factor.
By building the larger space, the JAM Center would be able to house four basketball courts instead of two, up to six volleyball courts instead of three and also include on the second level a eight-of-a-mile walking track.
Parks Authority Board Member Ed Zastawny said part of the reason for looking at the expanded facility is to be able to host a wide variety of sports leagues and tournaments.
Planners said by expanding the site to six volleyball courts, it would allow the center to host tournaments on-site.
“This is one of the few projects … that the city is doing right now that has the potential to be an income generator,” Lake said.
To build the larger indoor, multi-sport complex, it is expected that it would add about $600,000 to the total project’s cost, which Lake said he hopes to keep under a total price tag of $5 million.
But parks authority board members questioned how the planned sports complex would affect other regional projects, including the Southern Indiana Sports Complex on the Indiana University Southeast campus and a multiuse recreational facility planned in New Albany.
“What New Albany’s doing would be complimentary to what we’re doing,” Zastawny said.
He explained that the sites would be focused on different sports, and as regional attractions, each could bring attention to the other’s complex.
“There’s nowhere like this around,” Lake added, referring to the planned JAM Center.
The next step in the process would be to release the plans for bidding. It is anticipated that planners could receive bids by May 14, and then have all of the bids available for approval for the parks authority board’s May 27 meeting.
If the approval was granted at that meeting, the construction could begin this year in order to have a large portion of the project complete by spring 2014. Construction would halt for the spring soccer season, but when the season is completed the complex would close in order to finish construction and open a completed facility for fall 2014.
The parks authority approved Kovert-Hawkins to release the JAM Center plans for bids 8-1, with Parks Authority Board Member Zach Payne voting against.
NAME YOUR PARK
A naming policy for parks was also adopted by the authority Monday.
The policy outlined that parks should be named after persons who have made a significant contribution to Jeffersonville. While it was deemed acceptable to name a park after a living person, it would be under exceptional circumstances. In both cases before naming the park, the authority would seek the permission of the person or their relatives if the namesake is deceased.
Another provision outlined a 10-year limit on sponsorship naming rights for facilities.
The naming policy was unanimously approved.