UNO sees role for proposed sports complex - Omaha.com
Published Thursday, June 28, 2012 at 12:30 am / Updated at 8:09 am
ATHLETICS
UNO sees role for proposed sports complex

Below: See the projected layout of the Omaha Multisports Complex

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University of Nebraska at Omaha officials are interested in working with a local group that's planning a sports complex anchored by an Olympic-sized swimming pool now being used for the Olympic Swim Trials.

UNO Athletic Director Trev Alberts said the university has had informal discussions with people behind the Omaha Multisports Complex proposal.

Civic leaders Lisa Roskens and Mike Cassling announced Friday at the CenturyLink Center Omaha, home of the 2012 Swim Trials, that the Trials' warm-up pool would be purchased and stay in Omaha as part of a complex to include tennis, track and soccer facilities.

The group has said it is considering several sites, including land UNO owns south of 67th and Center Streets on the former Chili Greens golf course. They also are open to other potential sites. They're raising money and hope to start construction by 2014.

A nonprofit corporation would own and manage the complex. Universities, high schools, swim and tennis clubs, and other organizations could use it.

Alberts said Monday that he's pleased a community group sees fit to back such a project.

“We have had conversations with them, and we're interested,” Alberts said.

It's “very early” in the process, he said. And UNO's land is just one site that the group is weighing, Alberts said, although he noted its “fairly obvious” positives — such as a location in central Omaha, accessibility to youths from across the city and good access for crowds attending events.

“If we can find a way to integrate that community asset into our campus, we would most certainly be interested,” he said.

Alberts said he couldn't comment at length on how such a complex might fit into UNO's plans for athletic and other facilities. The university is in the middle of a strategic planning process. Asked what the complex might mean for talk of a possible on-campus hockey arena or hockey practice facility, Alberts said it wouldn't affect the hockey program.

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Roskens, CEO of Burlington Capital Group, and Cassling, CEO of CQuence Health Group, have said their group raised $1 million to buy the pool. They don't have a total cost estimate or a formal timeline for building the complex. They have said they wanted to make sure that they acquired the Trials pool, not only for its size, but also for its cachet as having been used by Olympians.

It would be a 52-meter pool with two movable bulkheads, allowing the pool to be configured at 50 meters, 25 meters or 25 yards. At 25 meters wide, it would accommodate 10 lanes.

Plans call for possible seating of 1,800 to 2,000 in the pool facility. That would allow Omaha to go after events on the scale of a USA Swimming Grand Prix and regional and national meets.

Contact the writer:

402-444-1057, christopher.burbach@owh.com

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Diagram: Click on the image below for a closer look at the Omaha Multisports Complex's projected layout:

Contact the writer: Christopher Burbach

christopher.burbach@owh.com    |   402-444-1057    |  

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