Spooky Nook: Let the games begin
BY DAN NEPHIN, Staff Writer
Anyone who's driven past the former Armstrong distribution center on Route 283 knows it is massive.
Now home to Spooky Nook Sports, a look inside gives some context to what its officials call the largest indoor sports complex in the country.
As configured Thursday, it could host six tennis matches, a field hockey game, 11 volleyball games and three basketball games (10 courts are hardwood maple.)
And practice in eight batting cages and four pitching tunnels, infield play on an artificial turf and a climbing activities, including a 30-foot-wall and the first Clip 'N Climb automatic-belaying climbing surfaces in the country.
All at the same time.
And if you don't like real games, an arcade offers a variety of video games, including giant-sized Connect Four.
That's just in the half of the 13-plus-acre building opening to the public June 3.
The facility has been in a "soft opening" since March and has already hosted volleyball tournaments.
Tonight, Lancaster Mennonite High School is holding its senior banquet at Spooky Nook and on May 18, the Lancaster County Women's Expo will be held there.
"We are a huge facility. We want it to be more than just sports. We want to do sports, entertainment and events," Stephanie Jordan, marketing coordinator, said during Thursday's media day.
Sports is the main focus though, as evidenced by the specially-designed flooring in the welcome area: White tiles covered in black sneaker footprints.
The facility will also have a fitness center, a pro shop, smoothie bar and other food, locker rooms and rooms to host birthday parties.
Hours of operation are still being worked out, Jordan said. Membership ranges from $15 a month for youth tennis to $172 a month for "ultimate" family memberships, which includes fitness memberships, group exercise, tennis and climbing -- plus initiation fees.
Spooky Nook Sports has partnered with Lancaster Orthopedic Associates to offer on-site physical therapy and rehabilitation services.
In January, USA Field Hockey said it would make the complex home of the U.S. Women's National Team through 2022.
Sam Beiler, former owner of Auntie Anne's, announced plans for the center in 2012.
Jordan said she hasn't been told how much has been spent transforming the facility.
Beiler bought the facility for $11.25 million in December 2011 and previous articles referred to project costs of about $25 million.
Over the summer, Spooky Nook expects to have about 50 full- and part-time employees and about 100 by January, Jordan said.
The second phase of the project, to begin over summer, is expected to include nine outdoor turf fields for field hockey, lacrosse, soccer and other sports. Plans call for a temperature-controlled dome so one field could be used year-round.
A third phase is being considered that would turn the unused portion of the building into a conference center and/or dormitory-style housing for athletes competing in multiday camps, tournaments and clinics.
Though much of the first phase of the complex appeared done, odds and ends were still being worked on, Jordan said.
Crews were working on a glass enclosure around the climbing walls and other workers were assembling rubber flooring in one of the fitness areas.