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First phase of Prairie Trail Sports Complex, a new project in Ankeny, is expected to be completed by October


The Fieldhouse, a 33,000-square-foot indoor athletic facility, is expected to open in October in the Prairie Trail Sports Complex, a development planned in Ankeny. Architectural rendering by Imprint Architects

An Ankeny resident with a background in coaching at the youth and college levels is developing a sports complex in the community that will provide young athletes involved in a variety of sports a place to practice and compete.

Prairie Trail Sports Complex, which is proposed on about 9 acres at 2250 S.W. Vintage Parkway in Ankeny, is expected to include more than 96,800 square feet of indoor athletic space spread over three buildings, said David Lane, the project’s developer. A fourth building could be erected if there is demand for it, he said. 

There is a shortage of indoor athletic facilities in Ankeny,” said Lane, a high school and college basketball coach. “During COVID, when the schools were shut down, that need was really amplified. Many of the clubs – and Parks and Rec – use the school gymnasiums for practices and you couldn’t get in them because they were closed.” 

The Fieldhouse, a 33,000-square-foot facility that will include four basketball courts, four volleyball courts, three batting cages and 12 pickleball courts, is expected to open in October.

A year later a second building, the Diamond, is expected to open. The 13,800-square-foot facility will include batting cages for softball and baseball as well as an area for speed and agility training, Lane said.

A third building, called the Coliseum, is planned for 2024 and will include space dedicated to wrestling, esports and about 37,000 square feet of turf for soccer, lacrosse and rugby. The building would be about 50,000 square feet, Lane said.

The Fieldhouse will be constructed with pre-engineered metal and its exterior will include brick and stone accents. Development costs are estimated at $7 million.

“We want this to look like an athletic, youth sports campus,” Lane said.

The demand for indoor athletic facilities has been well documented in Ankeny.

In March 2019, the Ankeny City Council adopted a Parks and Facilities Comprehensive Plan that, among other things, indicated an immediate need for 77,500 square feet of indoor recreation space. That need is expected to grow to more than 110,000 square feet by 2023, according to the plan.

Ankeny’s population grew nearly 50% between 2010 and 2020, from 45,482 residents to 67,887, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. About 18,000, or 27%, of the community’s residents are 18 or younger.

“Ankeny has a lot of kids, and it seems like almost all of them are involved in some type of sporting activity,” said David Jones, Ankeny’s city manager. “There’s a strong demand for [indoor] facilities and I think it was just a matter of time before the private sector stepped up to do something like this.”

The project is planned on land owned by DRA Properties LC, the master developer of Prairie Trail, a 1,031-acre planned development less than a mile east of the proposed sports complex.
Prairie Trail’s commercial development includes restaurants, brew pubs, bowling alleys, movie theaters and retail shops, all of which would benefit from a nearby sports complex where weekend tournaments were held.

“From an economic standpoint [the sports complex] will be very good for the District,” said Ashley Johnson, marketing director for DRA Properties. Teams from outside the Des Moines area “can stay in our hotel rooms. In between games, parents and the teams can eat at our restaurants and shop at our shops.”

“This will be really good for the community,” she said.

Lane said he is finalizing an agreement to buy the land.

He said he expects the demand to continue to grow in the Des Moines area for youth sports facilities even after the addition of other planned spaces.

In Johnston, the City Council last week approved the site plan for Ignit, an indoor/outdoor sports fitness facility that will include an indoor track, a full-size indoor soccer field, multipurpose courts, meeting areas and outdoor recreation areas. The Grimesplex, a privately owned, 50-acre multiuse sports tournament complex with more than 70 soccer fields of varying sizes, up to 26 baseball and softball fields, and 13 football fields, is planned in Grimes. Norwalk is planning a 45,000-square-foot recreation and athletic facility on a 22-acre campus.

Last year, the MidAmerican Energy Company RecPlex opened in West Des Moines. The facility includes nearly 300,000 square feet of space including two ice rinks and a fieldhouse.

“All of those are catering to different sports and have different models for what they are doing,” Lane said. “The RecPlex, for instance, is set up for community members to come in and use and is operated by the city.”

Lane said he is working with officials associated with Ankeny and Centennial high schools’ athletic and activity groups to provide space for both in- and off-season activity needs.

The Prairie Trail Sports Complex will be privately operated and will be supported by its members, Lane said. The facility will also sponsor weekend tournaments as well as partner with groups on tournaments.

A concession stand will offer popcorn, candy and drinks.

“We want to find our niche,” Lane said. “We want to be a good neighbor to surrounding businesses that can benefit from us bringing in large numbers of people at certain times that [the businesses] will be able to provide services to.”

RELATED ARTICLE:  2 mixed-use buildings, hotel planned for Ankeny’s Prairie Trail


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