Around 80 Columbia residents gathered at A. Perry Philips Park off U.S. 63 on Thursday night to dedicate the new Columbia Sports Fieldhouse.
The fieldhouse has four hardwood courts. Columbia has three other hardwood courts at the Armory and the Activity and Recreation Center, but those courts restrict use to members or dedicated adult leagues. Anyone with a reservation can use the new fieldhouse, according to previous Missourian reporting.
At the dedication, Mayor Brian Treece said the fieldhouse will also attract players in competitive leagues.
“Columbia is really putting itself on the map as a destination,” Treece said.
Marty McCormick, executive director of MU Health Care, said the new facility will show that exercise is fun and promote examples of teamwork and sportsmanship.
“Encouraging healthy lifestyles, this is something that we strive for,” McCormick said.
The sports facility was supposed to open in spring 2019, according to its initial plan. Snowy weather last winter and delays in acquiring materials pushed back the opening date, according to previous Missourian reporting.
Artist David Spear created three pieces of art for the building. Each piece includes built-in lights. Since most of his previous work is with painting, Spear said all the steps, including deciding the kinds of lights and the spacing of them, were challenging.
“This was a big project,” Spear said. “I needed someone who had construction, electrical and problem-solving skills.”
Treece stressed the value of one of the pieces of art that shows silhouettes of players of all sizes and ages, including basketball players in wheelchairs.
“While Columbia is a destination for sports, we’re also a symbol of inclusiveness,” Treece said.
Two outdoor tennis courts, four outdoor pickleball courts, a restroom and a small shelter are being built adjacent to the fieldhouse.
Those who want to make individual reservations for courts in the fieldhouse can call the Parks and Recreation Department at 573-874-7612. For tournament reservations, call 573-874-7466. Hourly court rental rates start at $30 an hour for a cross court and $50 an hour for a full court.