Delaware Sports Complex taking shape … slowly

 

Pictured is an overhead view of the Delaware Sports Complex in Middletown that’s under construction. (Delaware State News/Craig Anderson)

Pictured is an overhead view of the Delaware Sports Complex in Middletown that’s under construction. (Delaware State News/Craig Anderson)

MIDDLETOWN — Appearances are deceiving, Delaware Sports Complex ownership says.

A sign near the front of the site touts a Spring 2016 opening that didn’t happen.

There’s one grass field visible from Levels Road, and that playing surface isn’t fully established.

Other than that, there’s been no apparent construction since before the summer began.

The $13 million project, however, is still in play, according to co-owner Scott Lobdell.

Four four high school age lacrosse tournaments are scheduled at the DSC, covering each weekend in November,

The 3d Fall Shootout has 94 teams scheduled and similar past events presented by the Colorado-based 3d Lacrosse company have drawn dozens of college coaches on the lookout for prospects, Mr. Lobdell said.

“One of the things they liked is our location, in the northeast area, especially with Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania being less than a four hour drive away,” Mr. Lobdell said.

Five other DSC field sites have been staked out and are ready to be sodded next week, Mr. Lobdell said, Talks with the Town of Middletown to provide additional field space for the upcoming events are ongoing.

“This is an economic driver and the town fully supports the project,” Lobdell said. “Calls are coming in from as far away as Kentucky, I think, asking for hotel information.”

The Middletown-based Delaware Revolution youth sports program, which Mr. Lobdell operates along with Brian Ellis and Brian Laity, held practices and games at the DSC earlier this month.

Interest spreading

By the time next spring comes, 12 to 15 fields are planned for use, and Mr. Lobdell said 8 to 10 soccer and lacrosse event dates are locked in beginning in May. Preliminary discussions with field organizations have been held as well, he said.

Apparently, word of the DSC is spreading.

“We haven’t marketed anything but people are coming to us already,” Mr. Lobdell said. “A lot of this stuff scheduled has come from organizations reaching out to us.”

The complex hasn’t progressed as quickly as projected when ground was broken in October 2015 for “various reasons while dealing with the typical approval and construction issues that go with each phase,” Mr. Lobdell explained.

“The town didn’t skip any steps,” he said, noting that DelDOT has been involved as well.

The final plan

Ultimately, Mr. Lobdell said the DSC outdoor area will include 20 full size fields for multi-purpose use, 16 baseball/softball fields, tennis courts and nearly 1,500 parking spaces. Six of the fields are projected to be fully lighted.

Two indoor facilities are planned in 160,000 and 75,000 square foot buildings, according to ownership. The indoor buildings will include a full size turf field, hard court areas for basketball and volleyball, among others, a 10,000 square foot performance training area and room for offices, conferences and parties, according to Mr. Lobdell.

Plans include fields supported by approximately one mile of stone and pipe in trenches beneath each surface to lessen rain concerns, according to Mr. Lobdell.

“Natural grass fields and the central location along with the close proximity to restaurants, hotels, etc. has been the biggest reason why we had so much interest in the site so far,” said Mr. Lobdell, adding that the upcoming U.S. 301 bypass offramp will exit at Levels Road approximately a quarter mile from the DSC’s entrance.

Also, according to Mr. Lobdell, there’s plans to finish off a partially developed golf course on St. Annes Road that has been untouched for years.

 

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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