By Joe Riedel, Director of Business Development at Straub Construction
Each year, hundreds of thousands of people flow through Johnson County Park & Recreation’s New Century Fieldhouse in Gardner, KS. This project was completed by Straub Construction in 2011. When I think of New Century Fieldhouse, I think of volleyball tournaments, basketball games, and the brand-new turf for the soccer field. However, the impact of the facility stretches far beyond traditional sports programs.
It Starts with the Culture
Shannon Sonnier oversees the daily operation of the Fieldhouse. But he credits his team of four full-time and roughly twelve part-time employees for the culture and attitude of service. In Shannon’s words, “I’ve been blessed from day one to have a fully engaged staff who care about the people we serve.” This attitude trickles into the safety and maintenance of the facility, which shows. Although the building was completed in 2011, it looks brand new. Shannon still gets joy out of seeing people visit for the first time. Their eyes open wide and they pause for just a moment, taking in the view of the fieldhouse.
One goal of Johnson County Park & Recreation is to serve as many people as possible. They have programs that span from the indoor play park for toddlers to Pickleball and card games for seniors. They serve groups of great means, like club teams, as well as people who are able to take advantage of free and low cost services. Plus, having the vast space available inside New Century Fieldhouse affords the ability to host many unique events. Events for which the staff are extremely proud, but are somewhat unknown to people outside of the community.
- Relay for Life (Blue Valley School District), where over $217,000 was raised in March of this year.
- The USSAA Central Regional Dog Agility Championships, which includes 319 dogs and 199 handlers from 26 states.
- The 2017 U.S. Youth Futsal National Championships, where JCPRD hosted teams from 16 states and the District of Columbia.
- Boccia, America’s Cup 2013 – A qualifier for the Paralympic Games. This included participants from nine countries and disabilities ranging from full upper body mobility to only being able to move above the neck.
Further Community Impact
New Century Fieldhouse provides a tremendous amount of economic impact to neighboring businesses by bringing in thousands of participants and their families. It also serves as employer to many teenagers who will call Johnson County Park & Recreation their first job. They learn work ethic, team work, punctuality and responsibility.
- 88,000 square feet
- Completed Spring of 2011
- 135,000 participations in 2017
- 162,000 spectators in 2017
- Architect: DLR Group
- Contractor: Straub Construction Company