Sanford, FL – May 16, 2016 – Amid the sounds of baseball bats cracking, cheering fans, laughing kids, and an impressive fireworks display, representatives from Seminole County gathered with Wharton-Smith, HKS Architects, CPH Engineers and excited community members to celebrate the grand opening of the Seminole County Sports Complex. The celebration kicked off the USSSA Florida State Baseball Championship, a three-day tournament featuring 85 teams from across Florida.
Chairman John Horan of the Seminole County Board of County Commissioners opened the ceremony pronouncing with a smile on his face “We had our own field of dreams, and now it is a reality!” Located on 102 acres, the new $27 million tournament sports complex features 15 baseball/softball multi-purpose fields that can also be used for soccer, football and lacrosse. The 15 fields are located in four different hubs, with concessions and public restrooms at each. A centrally-located administration building includes offices and a meeting room with the capacity to fit 120 people. The park also includes a large central pavilion, playground, walking paths, central picnic area, batting cages, bullpens, and spectator bleachers with shade covers. The airplane-themed playground was made possible through a $100,000 donation made by the Orlando Sanford International Airport.
For more photos of the event, visit the Wharton-Smith Flickr page.
“Can you hear the kids laughing and the sound of baseballs being hit?” asked Congressman John Mica, who made the special trip to be at the park’s opening. “This complex will become known around the country as a place to come for sports,” he added. Amateur tournament sports is one of the largest and fastest growing market segments today. The complex has already booked 38 tournaments throughout 2016 and into 2017 and is expected to attract over 100,000 athletes and spectators, generate more than 36,000 hotel room stays, resulting in a more than $50 million impact to the local economy within its first eight months of operation.
“Wharton-Smith is thrilled to have been able to be a part of fulfilling this vision for Seminole County and its residents,” said Rick Bundy, Project Executive. “This project is in our backyard and as a company based in Seminole County, we had a vested interest in making it a success,” he added.
David Eckstein, the Major League Baseball World Series MVP and his father Whitey Eckstein expressed excitement and appreciation for Seminole County taking the initiative to build a tournament sports complex that will hopefully honor all of the world-class athletes that have called Seminole County home. David concluded the ceremony by saying “Memories that will be made on these fields will last a lifetime.”
Wharton-Smith provided construction management services and the design team was HKS Architects and CPH Engineers.