by Ward Mullens, Published June 15, 2010
YPSILANTI - It’s not a good idea to bring a pair of big scissors near a giant inflated object, unless it’s a ribbon cutting for a new indoor practice facility.
Eastern Michigan University President Susan Martin, Board of Regents Chair Roy Wilbanks, Eastern Michigan Athletic Director Derrick Gragg and Ypsilanti community representatives officially open the $3.9 million athletic facility today at 10 a.m.
The public is invited for free hot dogs, games and tours of the facility. The ribbon cutting ceremony is at 10 a.m. and the open house runs through 7 p.m. The facility is located near the north end of Rynearson Stadium, at the corner of Huron River Drive and Westview Drive.
“The multi-purpose indoor practice facility will provide Eastern Michigan University athletic teams and the Ypsilanti community with more opportunities to continue playing and practicing despite inclement weather,” said Gragg. “The facility will also provide opportunities for supporting intramural, recreational, and club-sponsored sports on campus, as well as providing an indoor option for community sports leagues such as soccer and youth baseball and softball.”
The indoor practice facility was inflated in February. The facility is a permanent air-supported structure that is 410 feet long, 210 feet wide, and 75 feet tall and includes a welcome center (1,100 square feet) and convertible space (86,000 square feet) that can be configured for a football field, an international soccer field, four youth soccer fields or two youth baseball/softball fields. Also there is a 100-space vehicle parking lot.
According to Mark Monahan, director of the Convocation Center and coordinator for the practice facility, there already has been a lot of interest in renting the space from the community.
“We are trying to be as flexible with the scheduling as possible to allow as much opportunity for outside use,” Monahan said.
Although scheduling is still being worked out, the facility will be open from 6 a.m. to midnight, Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Rates for the facility will vary based on peak season or off-season booking. During the peak season (October-March) rates will range from $100-$400 per hour. During the off-season (April-September) the rates will be $100-$300.
Rental of the facility requires a signed contract and proof of insurance.