A proposed massive indoor sports complex in West Des Moines will be known as the MidAmerican Energy Company RecPlex thanks to a $5 million donation from the utility company.
The $30 million facility will feature two ice rinks, three indoor soccer fields, three indoor basketball courts, six volleyball courts, and five outdoor soccer fields. It will also serve as a small convention center with 3,000-square-feet of meeting space, 20,000-square-feet of exhibit space and a 3,000-seat main arena with a stage.
It will be located on 60-acres of farmland south of Grand Avenue and east of Jordan Creek Parkway near the DMACC West Campus. Excavation is expected to begin this fall with a target opening of summer 2020.
The facility was proposed last year by the Iowa Soccer Association and the Iowa Ice Sports Foundation as a way to meet the growing demand for indoor youth and adult sports.
There’s an estimated 17,000 youth and 1,500 adult soccer players in Central Iowa, according to data from the Iowa Soccer Association. Another 1,000 youths and 800 adults play ice sports, including figure skating and hockey, Ryan Opp, president of Iowa Ice Sports Foundation, previously told the Register.
Yet the number of indoor facilities is severely lacking, he said. There are currently three ice rinks and two indoor soccer fields in the metro.
The facility will be paid for with a mix of public and private funds — $10 million in individual and corporate donations, $18.5 million in West Des Moines hotel/motel tax revenue and $1.5 million in potential grant funding. About $8 million has already been raised in private donations, said West Des Moines City Manager Tom Hadden.
The MidAmerican Energy RecPlex is an ideal project to receive the city’s hotel/motel tax revenue — a 7 percent tax charged to hotel guests — because it will help draw people to the region, he said.
“Our plan is to use the dollars collected from people visiting our city to fund a regional attraction that provides a place for our kids to participate in athletics and much-needed space for adult sports, smaller conventions, trade shows and corporate gatherings,” Hadden said.
Kathryn Kunert, vice president of economic connections and integration at MidAmerican Energy, said in a statement the company is “proud to support projects that promote economic development through strengthening and enhancing the quality of life for our customers and communities.”