NEWBURGH, Ind. — Since it was unveiled in April, little has been said publicly about the indoor sports complex envisioned for the western edge of Warrick County, near Interstate 69 and Indiana 66.
However, “this thing continues to evolve,” said Steve Roelle, executive director of Success Warrick County. “Like any project, things behind the scenes tend to take some time.”
Organizers have big dreams for what the fieldhouse could mean for local sports and tourism. They say it will host track and field, volleyball, basketball, wrestling and pickleball tournaments, plus turf sports activities and non-sports events.
Previous: Major complex for volleyball, track, other indoor sports proposed for Warrick County
Presented in April as a 180,000-square-foot complex, the design has since grown to 230,000 square feet, covering 18-20 acres. Some key points remain undecided, such as whether a banked or nonbanked 200-meter track will be used.
The site is on Warrick Wellness Trail, but officials have not been more precise than that.
The fieldhouse would seat up to 3,500 people, with the goal of attracting collegiate or USA track and field meets. Local officials are working with Carmel-based construction and development company Lauth and Synergy Sports Global.
“It’s an incredibly aggressive complex from a design standpoint,” said Eric Marvin, president of the Evansville Sports Corp., which works with regional partners to promote sports tourism. “It really sets us up for national championship opportunities, especially when you look at the track and field side of the complex, the spectator seating, the track layout, how everything plays together.”
Officials say the fieldhouse will complement the nearly finished Deaconess Aquatic Center in Evansville’s Garvin Park, as well as Deaconess Sports Park on North Green River Road, which brings numerous youth baseball and softball tournaments to the region.
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They aren’t ready to discuss the project’s cost in detail, but the framework likely will mirror that of Deaconess Aquatic Center.
The indoor pool’s budget of more than $28 million was pulled from different sources, including tax increment financing, hotel room tax revenue and a stack of private donations led by Deaconess Health System.
“This is going to be a private-public partnership,” Roelle said. “Warrick County is in discussion with what the county needs to bring to the table. It’s done a lot of different ways at different facilities … there will be significant private equity but some public (financing).”
The project’s timeline also is ambiguous, but Roelle said an opening in spring 2023 is possible. That would mean a groundbreak in the first half of next year.
Roelle and Marvin in recent weeks visited indoor sports facilities at Indiana University and at Grand Park in Westfield, Indiana.
Those facilities have ample versatility in the type of events they can host, the officials said, and a similar concept is seen here.
Marvin said uses include physical therapy and indoor training, and the portable turf could facilitate marching band, cheer, lacrosse, soccer and football, and «you can even drop down indoor batting cages.»
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«This is designed for events and activity that brings positive economic activity to the region,» Marvin said. «We’re focusing on not just budget, but what the community and region need to make it an economic driver.»
Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke is supporting Warrick County’s fieldhouse project, citing the regionwide economic impact it would have.
«When we merged economic development agencies, we pledged regionalism,» Winnecke said. «A fieldhouse would greatly benefit Evansville and Vanderburgh County, and we need to encourage that.»
The complex will provide opportunities for cross country and track and field squads from the University of Evansville (NCAA Division I), the University of Southern Indiana (NCAA Division II) and Oakland City University (NAIA).
Evansville has hosted NCAA Division II basketball and cross country championships. Deaconess Aquatic Center has Division II swimming championships scheduled, and officials hope track and field will follow in the new complex.
«It’s a really exciting proposition for our current and future student athletes,» said Mark Hillyard, USI men’s and women’s track and field and cross country coach. «I’ve been at USI 25 years, and in that time we’ve never competed at home. We’ve been on the road for everything. This will give us an opportunity to showcase what we have here in Evansville and not be on the road every weekend.»
In USI’s Great Lakes Valley Conference, only the University of Indianapolis and Lewis University have indoor track facilities, but Hillyard said the local complex being discussed would stand head and shoulders over those.
«It would help from a recruiting standpoint without question,» Hillyard said. «Not just having a facility, but a world-class one you wouldn’t see many places.»


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