Myrtle Beach Sports Center starting to book events, on schedule for March opening

07/22/2014 6:08 AM

07/22/2014 6:10 AM

Work on the Myrtle Beach Sports Center remains on schedule for a March opening, as negotiations continue to sign events to use the complex.

Construction on the roof of the building, which is behind the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, started Monday. Assistant city manager John Pedersen said the project is on schedule and expected to remain within the $13.8 million budget. The city increased that number in February from the estimated $12.4 million to pay for an additional 500 parking spaces, more roads and driveways and added equipment for the fire system.

“There are no delays to report at this point,” Pedersen said. “It’s going really well.”

Construction on the 100,000-square-foot indoor center started in February. The complex will include eight basketball courts that will be cross-lined to hold two volleyball courts each, a café and retail area, an entertainment zone featuring a climbing wall and a 1,500-seat telescopic bleacher system.

Myrtle Beach City Council voted last year to build the indoor complex aiming to boost sports tourism in Myrtle Beach, especially during the beach’s slower times of the year.

John McDonald, general manager for the sports facility, said he is finalizing contracts with five organizations within the next month. He declined to give the names of the organizations until the contracts were signed.

“Things are looking good but we’ve got some more to do in the fall and winter,” McDonald said.

He said there are 18 events in the works that have either been issued contracts or he hopes to issue contracts in the near future. Some of those events would take place right after the center opens in the spring and others held in January and February of 2016.

But don’t think the center will house just the usual sports competitions. McDonald said he is working with a local soccer club to possibly bring futsal to the center.

“If you haven’t heard of it, you should Google it,” he said. “It’s getting to be more popular.”

Futsal is a variation of soccer that’s played on a smaller field, typically indoors.

“So we’re looking at opportunities there,” he said.

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