Published DateTILTON — "People will be kicking soccer balls and playing lacrosse games here by the middle of the summer'' says Bob Callahan, owner of the Tilton Sports Center on Autumn Drive, where a 10,000 square foot indoor turf field is being installed.
Callahan says that he's turning the large, open space inside the former warehouse building into a state-of-the-art, year-round recreational facility which will have multiple uses and is geared primarily to the youth and adult leagues.
He says that the turf field will arrive by the middle of June and that once it is installed some 24,000 pounds of rubber infill will be worked into the grass-like turf to provide a cushioned feel for those using the field.
''It makes it nice and easy on the knees,'' says Callahan.
The interior walls and the ceiling of the field area are being completely netted and a spectator viewing area and concession stand are being installed on one side of the building.
''This is something the area needs and we're happy to be in a position to provide it,'' says Callahan, adding "the growing popularity of lacrosse and soccer has created a demand for playing fields that can be used year-round.''
He said that he's fortunate in that most of the infrastructure for the center is already in place as a result of his having developed the property seven years ago as the Granite Media Center, which will continue to operate out of the building as an independent entity providing film production services.
''We've got a training/viewing room where a coach can film the game and then come into the viewing room with his players and show them exactly what happened during the game and how they can improve as players. There's a large 10 foot movie screen or a 50 inch plasma TV. It makes for a great coaching tool and the kids will enjoy watching themselves on the big screen.'' he says.
There is also rental office space available for all services such as sports medicine, an accountant, lawyer and other professions.
Both the Lakes Region Lacrosse Club and the Lakes Region United Soccer league have signed on and will be playing games at the sports center starting in the fall and winter and Callahan expects that the facility will be greatly in demand for sports camps and clinics during the summer months.
''We can set up indoor batting cages or adapt the space in a variety of ways to meet the needs of the groups using it,'' says Callahan.
He said that Mike Normandin, president of the Lakes Region Lacrosse Club, will be managing the leagues. "Mike is from the area and has been all about coaching the kids and developing better athletes in the Lakes Region. We're glad to have him on board.''
Earlier this year Callahan requested and received a variance from the Tilton Zoning Board to allow him to operate an indoor recreational facility in the town's Rural Agricultural District. A few months later the site plan for the converted warehouse/manufacturing building was approved by the town's Planning Board.
Hours of operation are from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays.
Callahan says that once the turf field and netting are installed he plans to hold an open house so that the public can view the new facility.
''We're looking to draw leagues from the Lakes Region north to the Plymouth, Conway areas. We're just a few miles off from I-93 with a good central location,'' says Callahan.
He says that those who want more information can contact him or Mike Normandin at 603-528-7600 or visit the website at www.tiltonsportscenter.com and fill out an informational survey.
Artist's conception of what the Tilton Sports Center will look like once a 10,000 square foot turf field is installed. (Courtesy photo)