Management company reps talk sports fields

Jan. 13—Representatives from Sports Facilities Companies of Clearwater, Fla., the firm that has taken over management of the University of Texas Permian Basin sports fields, talked about plans for the complex at a Discover Odessa Tourism meeting Thursday.

The gathering was held at the La Quinta Inn & Suites off Faudree Road and State Highway 191.

Efforts by UTPB to keep an agreement with the City of Odessa to provide sports fields to leagues and associations on campus were rejected last year. UTPB has 93 acres, about 14 diamonds and space for 20 to 30 rectangle grass fields that they can set up in any dimensions.

"Our presentation here today was really just to reintroduce the Basin Sports Complex to the community," National Director of Programming Donald Engstrom said after Thursday's meeting. "The presentation was about us, about our company and the rebranding that is happening with the sports complex out at UTPB that we're now calling the Basin Sports Complex."

Engstrom said Sports Facilities Companies was hired to make the complex available to everybody in the community. The other priority is to develop sports tourism in Odessa and create a balance between local programming, as well as bringing in regional and national events. He said they also want to create a successful economic and financial aspect to the complex.

"... Right now, there are a lot of capital improvements. We have a strategic plan and the timeline to do that (at) the facility. That's everything from the parking lots to the concession stands to the restrooms. ...," Engstrom said.

UTPB has acquired soccer goals as well.

Engstrom added that UTPB Athletic Director Todd Dooley and President Sandra Woodley have a grand vision and long-term plan to make the sports complex a special place for the community.

Making the complex more available, he agreed, was a good first step.

"We are really, really excited about the opportunity here just because of how Odessa is situated in West Texas. And so in our presentation, we talked a little bit about just the concentration of sports events in the area. And right now, three quarters of the sports tourism events that are out there are taking place in the South and in the Midwest and Odessa sits right in the middle of all of that. ... With the capital improvements that are being made at the complex and our ability through our network ... to attract the best and highest performing events, we're really optimistic about the future for UTPB and the Basin Sports Complex," Engstrom said.

He added that the improvements at the sports complex have started.

"The university made a significant investment initially in brand-new soccer goals and if you go out there now you actually see them. ... They're all stacked up in one area. And so that's really step one, and as part of our plan, we're just getting started there. There's kind of laying out what that appropriate timeline is and the expenditure of those investments," Engstrom said.

He added that this is a long-term project and it's a "never-ending project."

"We have contracted with a maintenance group to come in and basically maintain and improve the playing surfaces right now. (The) next step will be to determine what is actually needed, to get everything that needs a fresh coat of paint. There's fences that need ... repair ... It's a long list. All of those things are being prioritized," Engstrom said.

He added that they would love to do everything at once, but the reality is that's not always possible, so they have to be strategic about it.

Andy Cedillo has been brought on as general manager. Engstrom said he comes from the Midland Parks and Recreation Department.

ABM is handling maintenance and landscaping, Engstrom said.

"... He's already done a tremendous job with making the facility available. We had seven different rentals last night and I think there's nine different groups that are coming out tonight ... to use the space," Engstrom said. "So we're already starting to see the interest in using the space. That was immediate from when we even got on. There's ... the outreach from the community, from different soccer groups, baseball organizations, youth and adult. It's really been pretty incredible."

Dave Pritchett, chief operating officer of Sports Facilities Company, said they have big hopes for the complex.

"... And (we're) looking forward to making improvements with the university to provide a better experience for users. Both local users, community users, as well as travelers," Pritchett said.

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