New sports center set to open this spring

Marian Bowers did not like thinking about money when she first started planning the Pacific Sports Center now taking shape along South Pine Street. But figures come naturally now, two years after the idea started taking shape: $4.2 million.

“It is amazing how easily that rolls off my tongue now,” the CEO of South Sound Sports Ventures said about her privately funded sports center.

The center is under construction at the corner of South 80th and Pine streets on the southern edge of Tacoma. The foundation is in and the walls are upright on what will eventually be a 52,000-square-foot sports center that will be home to two indoor soccer fields and a host of sports leagues from the area that were looking to play their sports of choice year round. One draw will be the fact that the foundation for the fields is not poured concrete but crushed gavel, which allows for softer landings, faster play and cleaner fields. 

The center has seating for up to 1,200 people around the fields and 200 parking spaces.

Leagues ranging from youth soccer and football to lacrosse and baseball are already in the works to take to the field once the center opens in February. Even a roller derby league found find itself skating and bashing its way into the area.

"If the girls would come back, we would love to have them," Bowers said.

Bowers ran the Tacoma Soccer Center for several years, where the Dockyard Derby Dames held their matches before moving them to Pierce College. That soccer center, a 38,000-square-foot facility with only 60 parking spaces, is located by Tacoma Dome. It was showing too much of its age to renovate further, so Bowers opted to build a new facility.

“I thought about it, trust me,” she said of the idea of buying the Soccer Center on Bay Street, where she was renting, and renovate it into a grander facility. "But the land is only as big as the land is. It is a difficult location."

Bowers started operations at the Soccer Center in 2005 and filled it with league matches and sporting events, including the Tacoma Stars men's professional indoor soccer team, which she re-started in 2008.

Renovating that location would still leave parking and traffic problems that would not affect the new facility. The center is working to partner with Metro Parks to provide programs on the fields as a way to promote the creation of sports leagues and generate uses for the facility between matches as well. The parks programs will get free use of the facility in exchange for staffing the center during its programs and the trickle-down exposure the center gets from having the stream of foot traffic through its doors under the general "concept" deal in the works. Details will come following a more in-depth discussion next month.

"It just seemed like a good fit," Bowers said.

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