TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Pima County has put a lot of effort into expanding the Kino Sports complex to make it big enough to handle lucrative regional tournaments. There’s a further expansion underway nearby with the developer even planning ice hockey rinks. Part of that plan is a stadium and now the developer is saying to handle the summer heat that stadium should be a domed stadium.
The idea of ice hockey rinks attracted the most attention when Pima County Supervisors approved a project now called the Mosaic Quarter. The rinks are part of a plan to add places to play a wide variety of sports, along with hotels and restaurants to help support regional, and even national tournaments.
An open air stadium suitable for events like football and track was part of the original plan. Now developer Frank Knott is planning a domed stadium instead so it’s easier to use year round.
“From the perspective of trying to get as many activities involved as possible for the community, as well as creating some synergies with our youth tournament travel business that will take place at the site. It gave us a lot more possibilities with other buildings such as the ice Plex and the Fieldhouse.”
Knott says high schools might use the dome for sports like football. He says it would still be fairly basic, not like a NFL stadium with luxury suites.
There is an example of a stadium like that in Arizona’s White Mountains. The Round Valley School District says its stadium in the town of Eagar is the only domed stadium for high school football.
We know, you want to know what this will cost.
Knott says, “We in our team are the ones financing it. There aren't any county dollars going into it. And we've already did some assessments in terms of the differences between the enclosed version versus the open air version and pretty much the utility we gained from this offset any cost increase but we don't expect it to cost any more than what we were going to spend on the Open Air Facility. And hopefully a little bit less.”
Next month Knott will ask Pima Supervisors to approve about a six month delay to allow for the changes. He expects the IcePlex to open in the Fall of 2024 with the domed stadium ready for play in 2027.
Craig Smith is a reporter for KGUN 9. With more than 30 years of reporting in cities like Tampa, Houston and Austin, Craig has covered more than 40 Space Shuttle launches and covered historic hurricanes like Katrina, Ivan, Andrew and Hugo. Share your story ideas and important issues with Craig by emailing email@example.com or by connecting on Facebook and Twitter.