How will this stadium be used?
The new 5,000-seat stadium will be home to Spokane Public Schools (SPS) football and soccer games and bring a new professional soccer team to Spokane via the United Soccer League (USL). The downtown stadium would also be available to host concerts, large-scale special events and other sporting events.
Where will the stadium be located?
The new stadium will reside on the North Bank of downtown, between Howard and Washington Street on Dean Avenue, just across from Spokane’s new indoor sports complex, The Podium.
What are the advantages to building the stadium downtown?
For the same construction investment SPS would make at Joe Albi, a downtown stadium can save the district significant money – $17.5 million – in operations and maintenance expenses. Not only that, but a recent study found that a downtown stadium would generate $11.4 million in positive annual economic impact for Spokane, versus only $1.3 million if the stadium were to remain at Joe Albi.
The central location provides increased accessibility, particularly for students, being right in the center of Spokane’s high schools for better proximity, as well as having access to bus routes and other public transit options.
By being located downtown, this stadium creates significant economic impact by drawing tourism, supporting our local businesses, and creating jobs. Maximizing the use of this public asset and attracting a professional soccer team only occur in a central urban location.
Didn’t Spokane already vote against building the stadium downtown in 2018? What’s different now?
A lot. Downtown Stadium proponents have addressed the major concerns that were brought up as a result of the advisory vote in 2018, including free parking, and have assembled a powerful partnership approach that will deliver a more dynamic experience, draw numerous events that add to our cultural experiences and job creation, provide a more accessible facility for all district families and bring substantial savings to the taxpayer.
Additionally, the USL, a new partner in this proposal, would financially contribute, something that wasn’t considered when the stadium went to the community for an advisory vote in 2018.
What about parking?
Parking and traffic congestion are always a concern in dense urban areas. Downtown Spokane is situated in a way that another major concern is too much surface parking that sits vacant most of the year.
This proposal includes the stipulation that parking for High School football games, and any other Spokane Public Schools events held at the stadium, would be free of charge. Should the stadium be built, roughly 1,300 parking stalls managed by the PFD would remain available.
Most STA bus routes currently run through downtown, providing an already existing public transit option. With the addition of City Line in 2022, regular east/west transit will travel through downtown from Brownes Addition on the west to the Community Colleges on the east, City Line will run to 11:00pm daily.
In 2019, in partnership with Spokane Transit Authority, Spokane Public Library, Spokane Parks & Recreation, and SPS, the Spokane Youth Card was introduced as a pilot program to provide free, unlimited STA bus rides for the summer. A similar program could be implemented to allow for student access to games in downtown Spokane.
Will taxpayers be asked for funding for the stadium in the future?
No. The current proposal is to use the bond funding already approved by voters, shifting it from the Joe Albi site to the downtown site. That funding, along with the investment from the USL and additional partners, would cover the cost of the stadium.
Why isn’t this money being used to support other public services?
In 2018, Spokane Public Schools placed a bond on the ballot to fund much needed facility improvements in the district, including the construction of three new middle schools and a collaborative redevelopment of community libraries. Voters approved the $495.3 million bond in November 2018 with 67% approval, $31 million of that total was dedicated to the replacement or upgrade of Joe Albi stadium located in Northwest Spokane. Originally built in 1950 and redeveloped in 1978, Joe Albi is the current home field for all five Spokane Public Schools football teams and previously also served the Mead School District, which recently constructed a new stadium. Reallocation of the dollars earedmarked for the stadium to public services would not be possible.
Who will manage the stadium?
The Public Facilities District would build and operate the venue and the United Soccer League will invest in the project and become an anchor tenant, outside of school use. Spokane Public Schools will utilize the stadium for all high school football and soccer games and be able to use it for other special purposes at no cost to the district and with free parking for all SPS events.
When will the stadium be completed?
If the proposal is approved, the stadium could be ready as early as fall 2022.
Isn’t a stadium already being built downtown?
The Spokane Public Facilities District is currently constructing a 135,000 square-foot indoor track and field facility immediately north of Riverfront Park. Named “The Podium,” the new facility will be able to accommodate a variety of collegiate, national and international competitions, but will not accommodate football, soccer, or other turf sports. The podium is set to be completed in the fall of 2021 and is funded in partnership by the SPFD, State of Washington, City of Spokane, Spokane County, Spokane Parks and Hotel/Motel Association. One advantage to building a stadium in downtown is to create a synergy with the two complimentary facilities.
What would happen to the current Joe Albi site if the new stadium is built downtown?
Preliminary discussions with the Spokane City Parks Director have taken place to develop the Joe Albi site into a multi-sport, multi-field complex. This new site would be used to support youth sport and activities while providing another asset for Spokane to attract sport tourism and business events.
IF LOCATED DOWNTOWN
- $11.4 million in positive annual economic impact would be generated for the region.
- The stadium’s $31 million construction budget has already approved as part of a capital bond passed in 2018 and would require no additional dollars.
- Spokane Public Schools saves $17.5 million in operating costs, or $350,000 per year.
- Free parking for all Spokane Public Schools events, 1,300+ parking spaces available.
- Central location is more equitable to all of Spokane Public School students and athletes.
- A downtown location would amplify investments made by the public into The Podium Sportsplex, Spokane Arena and Riverfront Park.
- Students would be provided access to professional sports at a national level, engaging with collegiate and professional athletes on a regular basis.
- Spectator experience would be greatly improved by the presence of downtown eateries, retail and coffee shops.
- 5,000 seat capacity expands up to 10,000 – 12,000 for special events such as concerts, festivals and graduations.
HOW CAN I SUPPORT THIS STADIUM?
The PFD Board and the Board of SPS need to hear from you. Show your support by sending a statement or letter outlining why you think a centralized downtown stadium would benefit students, families, and the entire Spokane Community.
Address correspondence to: Spokane Public Schools School Board: SchoolBoard@spokaneschools.org