U.P. Sportsplex brings games inside

MARQUETTE – When the weather turns cold many local sports teams reluctantly pack their equipment away for the season. A new facility in Marquette however, is giving these sports enthusiasts a means to continue the athletics they love.

The new establishment, called U.P. Sportsplex, resides in the former Argonics Inc. buildings at 1110 Wright Street. The vision of what could be began in early 2012.

“We have short summers and a long fall, winter and spring. So having indoor health, wellness and sports training opportunities for our community makes this a positive addition to the list of recreational options in our region,” said Doug Smith, general manager of U.P. Sportsplex.

Smith, along with Bob Flood, owner of Argonics Inc. and many local businesses, had been brainstorming on the best way to initiate a facility like U.P. Sportsplex. In June of 2012, construction began, and as of August 2013 the finishing touches were being applied.

The main focus may be on fall and winter programs, but that is only the tip of the iceberg for what U.P. Sportsplex will offer the community. Programs will include:

– Lacrosse

– Soccer

– Baseball/Softball batting cage

– Indoor golf driving range

– T-Ball

– Flag Football

– Street Hockey

– Inline Hockey

– Tennis

– Roller Skating Rink

– Wiffle Ball

– Dodge Ball

The facility includes two indoor tennis courts, an indoor golf driving range, an astro-turf field, batting cages and machines with speeds up to 90 mph and a multi-use sports rink.

Youth and adult developmental programs will include: Learn and Play Introductory Programs and Youth and Adult Leagues, which are currently forming. Another opportunity to take advantage of is the birthday party packages that will be offered. Individuals and groups can also take advantage of drop-in hours.

Youth and adults alike will be able to participate in instructional programs and private lessons led by professional local coaches. Youth will first participate in the “Learn to Play” programs and then graduate to league programs. U.P. Sportsplex “Learn to Play” programs are designed to provide an introduction to specific sports with a fundamental and fun approach. Kids will be placed into groups and rotated through a series of small-sided drills and games. It is intended for children 5-10 years of age.

Smith said he expects youth leagues to begin in October, once they’ve had more time to network with various organizations.

Smith added that he expects birthday packages and roller blading to be very popular.

“We will be renting out roller skates in all sizes, we’ll have a concession stand and people can rent the roller rink out for a few hours for parties.”

The roller rink is a multi-purpose space that will be used not just for roller skating and roller blading, but for lacrosse, tennishoe hockey and soccer. In addition, the turf room, which offers retractable batting cages and golf nets, can be split in half offering two sides separated by one net. This will offer younger kids a chance to have two soccer games going at once.

With all the options available for youth and adults alike, the only real question is which sports will be the most popular.

“It’s a mystery,” Smith remarked. “Until things pick up steam we won’t really know which sport is going to fill the most time slots. It could be soccer, or it could be lacrosse and they may change over time.”

The grand opening will take place Sept. 14. On that day, the community is invited and encouraged to come out between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to try out the new facilities. While there, they can browse and participate in the state-of-the-art equipment and pick up a few brochures to keep at home or pass to friends. The brochures include schedules and a list of all the programs.

“We have so much to offer our community,” Smith said.

The U.P. Sportsplex has its own Facebook page where numerous people have commented on their anticipation to be able to play tennis or golf in the winter season, when typically their clubs and rackets would be packed away.

“The feedback from the community has been tremendous and I think this is going to be a very positive thing for our area,” Smith said.

To learn more, visit U.P. Sportsplex on Facebook, or call 906-399-3804.

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