Fun and Games and Economic Growth
Celena Shepherd, Communications
November 08, 2022
Sporting events bring people together. For the City of Springfield, Missouri, they can also generate revenue that will benefit the entire community.
Springfield has always attracted visitors. The birthplace of historic Route 66, Springfield is centrally located in southwest Missouri. The city has hosted soccer tournaments, basketball events, and even a BMX bike championship. But Springfield’s city leaders recognized a need to expand the community’s offerings to impress notoriously selective sports tournament organizers.
Their idea was to create the region’s only multi-sport tournament venue: The Betty & Bobby Allison Sports Town.
Enter Olsson. Springfield office leader Jared Rasmussen’s team led the civil engineering and design process that helped to transform Springfield’s vision into reality. Olsson worked with developer Philcrest Properties to perform an array of services: annexation, rezoning, planning, public engagement, surveying, civil engineering, landscape architecture, construction services, and testing and inspections.
Jared said turf fields were a requirement to create the tournament-grade facility.
“Tournament organizers have certain criteria for a city to be considered, like all-weather-surface fields, which means turf,” he said. “That way if it does rain, the fields aren’t washed out, affecting the games.”
During the project, Olsson found an innovative solution to a technical challenge.
“During the preparation of a soccer field, we discovered a huge pinnacle of rock,” said Ricky Haase, Olsson project manager, and General Civil team leader. “On the fly, assistant engineer Trevor Drake and I redesigned and relocated the soccer fields to avoid the rock, keep the project moving, and avoid a bunch of additional costs for the client. This is something I was pretty proud of.”
This month, the 82-acre Betty & Bobby Allison Sports Town opens its 94,000-square-foot indoor complex and will offer:
- Eight outdoor soccer fields
- Four outdoor turf soccer fields
- Eight indoor volleyball courts
- Four full-size basketball courts
- Two indoor soccer fields
- Stands for 1,500 people
“The complex will provide a fantastic training facility with turf fields and high-quality grass fields. Tournaments and league play will allow us to showcase our new home,” said Chad Morgan, President of the Sporting Springfield Soccer Club in a press release by the Betty & Bobby Allison Sports Town.
City stakeholders are looking forward to seeing how the sports town attracts large-capacity sporting events.
Last year, sports-related travel and spending totaled about $36 billion and helped to support 635,000 jobs, according to the Sports Events & Tourism Association’s 2021 State of the Industry report.
Jared is excited to see the project’s effect on his community.
“Olsson stays engaged in a project, from when you start having dreams about a property to finding the best solutions as the project evolves,” he said. “We are committed to make things happen and want to help turn vision into reality.”
After all of this, Springfield and Olsson aren’t done. Olsson is currently working on a 20-acre commercial development adjacent to the sports town.
Olsson is also helping build two other sports-related projects in the Springfield area: the Cooper Soccer Complex and the Republic Sports Park, in Republic, Missouri. Both projects will add more playing fields, locker facilities, and spectator amenities to Springfield’s growing array of sports offerings.