LAKE HALLIE — Chase Hoople believes there is no training center quite like the Valley Sports Academy in Lake Hallie. The 116,000-square-foot indoor sports complex has a baseball/softball field, a lacrosse/soccer field, a 3/4-sized hockey rink, plus weight rooms, and batting and pitching cages.
“It’s hard to compare this facility to anything,” Hoople said as he gave a tour of the $10 million building on Friday. “We’re truly focused on training. For a training facility, it’s massive. There’s plenty of opportunity here.”
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Thursday. A hockey summer skills program, plus baseball and softball programs, begin this week. An official grand opening ceremony is planned for June 30.
Hoople said the goal is the building will be used by athletes ages 4 to 26, with programming meant to reach youth and getting them involved and helping them improve in their chosen sport.
“We’ll have our little sluggers program, and begin with kids at age 4,” he said. “And we’ve had college kids in here, using our cages.”
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The baseball field features a 33-foot-tall roof. The corners of the outfield are 155 feet, with center field at 210 feet.
“This artificial turf is going to give the most natural reaction to real grass,” Hoople said. “It has a good hop to it.”
Nearby are seven batting cages upstairs, with a pitching bullpen adjacent to the field.
Charlie Walker, Chippewa County Economic Development Corporation executive director, praised owners Brian and Liz Seubert for moving forward with the plans last year.
“The Valley Sports Academy is a centerpiece to highlight the Chippewa Valley’s ability to attract parents who want their kids to do well and excel,” Walker said. “It’s going to help these athletes grow and be the best they can be. It has some real economic growth potential for the area.”
Valley Sports Academy is located at 1855 125th St. in Lake Hallie, just northeast of the Melby exit off U.S. 53. When construction began last July, Seubert told the Leader-Telegram the facility would cost about $10 million.
“It will be designed around youth competitive sports,” Seubert said at the time. “We’re going to create these teams and compete at a national level.”
Seubert also has ambitious plans for bringing a lacrosse team to the region. He thinks it will likely be a co-op team at first, made up of athletes from several area schools. He pointed out that cities across the state have growing lacrosse programs.
Other uses for the building could include kickball or ultimate frisbee, he added.
The Seuberts already own Huffcutt Concrete and the Wissota Golf Course.
Photos: Big Rivers Conference boys golf tournament at Lake Hallie Golf Course 5-19-22