Athletes in Action plans $24 million athletic facility expansion

Wooden Family Fieldhouse will have four basketball courts, large turf-field indoor bubble for soccer, football

XENIA — Faith-based nonprofit Athletes in Action has met its multimillion-dollar fundraising goal for a new sports complex and indoor soccer field on its Xenia campus, expecting to draw over 400,000 athletes to Greene County per year.

Athletes in Action plans to start construction on the $24 million Wooden Family Fieldhouse in mid-2022, naming it after late UCLA basketball coach John Wooden.

In 2007, Athletes in Action purchased their current campus and sports fields on Detroit Street in south Xenia, partially visible from U.S. 35. They currently host a wide variety of sports tournaments, and the Wooden Family Fieldhouse, designed by MSA Sport, will enable the organization to house more athletes, host more indoor athletic events, and facilitate more team-building and leadership retreats.

“The total athlete is physical, mental and spiritual,” said Eric Nelson, AIA’s vice president of catalytic ministries. “A lot of places give people just the physical. We want to be in a place where ultimately we help them know themselves better and understand how they integrate faith and sport.”

Fundraising began in early 2020 but was hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Construction is expected to start in mid-2022, and will be done in two stages, the first being a $18.6 million, 65,000-square-foot center with four basketball courts, a challenge course, a sports performance and fitness area, and administrative offices.

The second stage is building a $5 million, 93,000-square-foot indoor turf field bubble for soccer matches, football games, and other sports training.

Both facilities are expected to open in the fall of 2023.

Athletes in Action currently has the capacity for around 150,000 recurring visitors per year, and expects to triple that number in the next five years.

“College, pro, gap-year athletes can come stay for an extended period of time, domestically and internationally,” Nelson said. “We’ve had folks come here for two months for training, and some who will live here for a six-month period, so it enhances your ability to do that. Plus you have five months of programming for all those outdoor sports that you can house during the winter, so that’s an additional boon.”

Athletes In Action has a presence on more than 200 college campuses across the nation and is present in more than 90 countries. The organization’s Xenia campus has hosted visitors from over 60 nations, and yearly hosts teams ranging from middle school and high school students to college-level and professional athletes.

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