County officials top off sports complex

Alachua County held a topping off ceremony on Friday for the sports complex at Celebration Pointe, marking the halfway point for the construction.

The facility will finish this year, and officials hope to start using the complex by January 2023.

“I just want to say a big thank you to the county commissioners, both past and present, who had faith in staff’s recommendations and brought this to fruition,” Alachua County Manager Michele Lieberman said at the ceremony.

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In the works for over a decade, the 120,000-square-foot complex will house 13 basketball courts, 26 volleyball courts, NCAA track and field and other sports. The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) financed the project with $30 million from its tourist development tax.

Alachua County Manager Michele Lieberman speaks to crowd
Alachua County Manager Michele Lieberman speaks at the topping off ceremony. 

The state added $2.3 million and Viking Inc. contributed $5.7 million. Viking Inc. will operate the facility and is also building a $15 million parking garage next door.

BOCC Chair Marihelen Wheeler said at the ceremony that the facility will bring in revenue for the county, with an estimated overall economic impact of $77 million a year.

State Sen. Keith Perry said the county chose the perfect location with I-75 close by and so many hotel and restaurant options in the area.

State Sen. Keith Perry signs steel beam
State Sen. Keith Perry (center) and other local officials sign a steel beam at a topping off ceremony Friday evening. 

“This will be a facility that will compete with any facility anywhere,” Perry said.

Celebration Pointe’s addition of a sports facility seems like a full circle, according to Svein Dyrkolbotn, principal owner of Viking Inc. and Celebration Pointe.

Dyrkolbotn played for the Gators’ basketball team in the 1990s, making it to the Final Four during the 1994-95 season. Since then, Viking Inc. and Dyrkolbotn have built Celebration Pointe as a family friendly area to celebrate Gainesville.

“Today is not just about Celebration Pointe and Alachua County—the sports complex is going to honor all those who believe in the power of sport,” Dyrkolbotn said.

The City of Gainesville recently decided to look into creating a complex in East Gainesville to complement the Celebration Pointe facility.

Sports complex at Celebration Pointe
The sports complex at Celebration Pointe will open in January near Bass Pro Shops. 

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