First stage of AIA’s $24M Wooden Family Fieldhouse to open Saturday in Xenia

Faith-based athletics nonprofit Athletes in Action opens indoor court center to go with large outdoor field complex and soon-to-be-added “bubble”

Faith-based organization Athletes in Action will open the first and major portion of its Wooden Family Fieldhouse on Saturday, with plans to expand its offerings to regional, national and international sports teams.

A grand opening event Saturday beginning at 2:30 p.m. will feature family-friendly athletic activities, including an obstacle course on the complex’s turf fields, plus bounce houses, food trucks and inductions into the organization’s Hall of Faith.

The first phase of the fieldhouse is an $18.6 million, 65,000-square-foot athletic center with four basketball courts, a golf simulator, sports performance and fitness area, wrestling mats, rock climbing wall and athletic training space.

The massive basketball gymnasium is lined for four collegiate basketball courts, one championship court, as well as youth basketball, and seats 1,200 people. The 16 hoops are mounted to the ceiling and can be controlled electronically.

“To go along with our 170 acres, our dorms and our banquet center and our fields, now we have an indoor place that can be used 12 months out of the year,” said General Manager Steve Harrell.

The center is named for UCLA’s late Hall of Fame basketball coach John Wooden, who gave written permission for Athletes in Action to use his name for the new center before his death in 2010. The entryway of the facility includes a tribute to him.

Basketball, volleyball, wrestling, futsal, pickleball, and even cheerleading are all sports supported by the new facilities, in addition to the center’s outdoor fields.

What is currently a grassy patch adjacent to the fieldhouse will be the second phase of the project: a 190-foot high, 93,000-square-foot indoor bubble with turf fields for soccer matches, football games, and other sports training. The estimated cost of the bubble is $5 million.

“We’re going to use this campus as a whole and this facility to bring teams and groups here, to prepare them to go back and compete in their seasons, but also to really serve our neighbors here in Xenia and southwest Ohio,” Harrell said.

This includes youth sports, tournaments, camps, leagues, skills training, and special events for high schools, colleges, and other local sports organizations across the region, Harrell said.

Athletes in Action is located on a 175-acre campus and sports fields on Detroit Street in south Xenia. Partially visible from U.S. 35, the organization currently hosts 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.

Though Athletes in Action is a Christian organization, religious programming is not a required element of the facility’s usage.

“It is definitely not a requirement. We want this space to be an open space where people can come and use it and experience what sport can be because we think that sport can be different than a lot of people believe it can be,” said Marketing Manager Jonathan Hauge.

Athletes in Action currently draws about 150,000 athletes to Greene County annually, a number that is expected to grow to over 400,000 annually with the new facility.

Based in Xenia, Athletes in Action has a presence on 220 college campuses in the U.S., and in 70 countries, andhas chaplains for about 30 professional sports teams.

About the Author