Bakersfield youth will soon have a space all their own for a whole host of sports, even the electronic kind.
Work on the Dignity Health Sports Complex is nearly done, and the facility plans to open its doors to the public next week.
“We’re anxious right now,” owner Kyle Shiloh said on Wednesday, observing a few kids testing out the newly-built basketball courts that take up most of the 53,000-square-foot facility.
Yet, he said many local youth basketball, volleyball and dance groups have already signed up to take advantage of the space. The facility, which is managed by Shiloh’s Gameday Sports Academy, plans to start fast and build from there.
“Once the doors open, they’ll all flood in,” Shiloh, formerly the head basketball coach at Bakersfield Christian High School, said. “Creating something that doesn’t exist here, that was the idea.”
Converted from an old building that had housed a go-kart track, the vast building will has now been converted into an athlete’s paradise. It is located near Buck Owens Boulevard, near the BLVD.
With five basketball courts that can be converted for volleyball and futsal, two weight rooms, five classrooms and a dance studio, the sports complex hopes to become a one-stop-shop for teams throughout Bakersfield and the Central Valley.
Shiloh says there isn’t another facility in town that offers the same types of activities in one place.
Even kids interested in e-sports will have a space. The classrooms in the facility can be converted into gaming rooms. There is already a plan to hold Super Smash Brothers and Rocket League tournaments for players interested in the popular games.
“There’s nothing for youth,” Shiloh said. “I figure it’s better they come here and actually have a social environment.”
He said he even hopes to host high school dances at the facility, complete with DJ’s and security, in order to provide a safe environment for kids who go to schools that have stopped holding organized dances of their own. By giving places to go outside of house parties, he said he hoped to be a positive influence on Bakersfield’s younger generation.
Whether or not the facility becomes a success is yet to be seen, but the organizers think it is off to a good start, and see plenty of room for growth.