HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) – Construction crews are hard at work putting up tilt panels to set up the structure of Henrico’s new indoor sports center at Virginia Center Commons.
At the construction site on Monday afternoon, Henrico leaders gathered to provide an update on the construction process and a glimpse at the facility.
“The coming days mark some exciting times in the development of the sports and event center,” said Henrico County Manager John Vithoulkas.
In 2020, the $50 million project was delayed for several months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On Oct. 13, 2020, county officials announced plans for the project would proceed.
This week, crews are working with a crane to set up 109 tilt panels weighing over 100,000 lbs each. The panels will set up the structure for this center, which officials said will have adaptable event space.
“The building overall is about 185,000 square feet,” said Dennis Bickmeier, executive director for Henrico Sports and Entertainment Authority. “We’ve created this building for a lot of flexibility to what we can do.”
This includes more than 115,000 square feet of space for 12 basketball courts or 24 volleyball courts, an arena with stadium seating, and 3,500 fixed seats.
“That can also expand to about 4,500 seats when you put seats on the floor for graduations, for concerts, for special events,” he said.
Officials also envision this space for graduations, concerts, and entertainment events.
“The design will allow for a lot of different type of events to go on at the same time,” Bickmeier said. “For example, we can have a concert going on in the small arena and still be playing basketball on the other side of the sound wall.”
As the building blocks for this project start to form for the anticipated completion date in 2023, Henrico officials are also working on the first full-year venue calendar for 2024.
“We’re just going around right now and really trying to introduce the facility to organizations, like the Virginia High School League, and see if there’s an opportunity to bid on some of the VHSL events here as well,” said Bickmeier.
Henrico leaders also believe this will provide more opportunities to the area, including a boost for sports tourism.
“In 2021, sports tournaments in our county generated nearly $60 million in economic impact. Impressive numbers, but we lost out on another $33 million of impact for our residents, our community because we couldn’t host the size and scope indoor events we know this county is capable of hosting,” said Dan Schmitt. He represents the Brookland District alongside the Henrico County Board of Supervisors. “The sky is truly the limit here for sports tourism here in Henrico. The ripple effect on our area’s economy for our residents, our businesses, our taxpayers will be felt for generations to come.”
Construction crews will continue to put tilt panels in place through next week. On Monday, construction officials hope to start placing the steel beams on the facility.
The center is expected to be complete in Sept. 2023.
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