Isabella County residents will have another choice for a workout location come next fall.
Construction is underway on a new recreation complex named the Isabella Community Sportsplex, which is set for a September opening.
Marc Sroufe, vice president of Mindwork Sports, said the construction is coming along as planned.
“It’s very good – the outside structure is up,” he said. “They are actually building the frame around the outside to enclose it … We’re pleased with where we are at right now.”
The addition, named Morey Courts, will be attached to the Isabella County Events Arena, located on East Remus Road in Mount Pleasant. The new facility and rink will be housed under the name of the Sportplex.
“It will have a common connecting link that will allow entrance both into the rink and to the new facility,” said Alta Construction President Tom Meyers.
Meyers said the facility will feature six basketball courts, two multipurpose courts for tennis and basketball, a fitness center, aerobics area, three racquetball courts, a food court and administrative offices.
Sroufe said the idea for the new complex has been talked about for years. He and Mindwork Sports began the project three years ago.
“We have worked very hard to get this to happen,” he said. “(We had) different ideas on how to actually make it work because we knew we couldn’t do it with tax dollars. It couldn’t be publicly funded. We found a very unique way to finance it and get it built.”
Sroufe said the money behind the project is coming from a few different places.
“The financing is being done by a group of private lenders who contributed the money to initially get the building started,” he said. “The Morey Foundation, who’s going to contribute on a quarterly basis for seven years, will be used to pay the bank loan down.”
He also said the facility is not for profit and the operating income will be used to pay the debt. Most of that incoming budget will come from weekend tournaments and weekday leagues from elementary school students to senior age groups.
The tournaments and leagues will be open to everyone in the community, including CMU students and faculty.
“The facility is being built for the community, and CMU students and faculty are part of that community,” he said. “So there will be opportunities for them to use it in addition to using the Student Activity Center, with leagues and drop ins and things like that. And we hope they will.”
One of the biggest issues facing the facility was the amount of parking spaces needed. Sroufe said the facility will have 500 parking spots.
Woody Woodruff, Union Township zoning administrator, said the facility had to agree not to hold big events such as conventions.
“The parking requirement for the basketball (courts) isn’t so much, but if they had a home and boat show in a space that large, it just wouldn’t have enough parking,” he said. “They stipulated that they’d not be doing that sort of activity to get the reduction in parking spaces.”
Sroufe also said they are working on the membership fee scale, and that an aquatic center could possibly be built in the future as part of the complex on a plot of land set aside for it.