Community First Champion Center opens

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GRAND CHUTE, Wis. (WBAY) - A major sports complex is now open in the Fox Valley.

Wednesday afternoon, a ribbon cutting ceremony marked the long-awaited opening of the Community First Champion Center in Grand Chute.

This sports complex is all about generating tourism through youth sports. A number of tournaments and events have already been booked, and teams from across the Midwest are expected to play here.

The facility has more than 160,000 square feet.

This includes a year-round ice rink with seating for 1,000 people.

There is a seasonal arena which can be used as another ice rink or as four hardwood courts.

Also, a fieldhouse can provide space for activities such as basketball or volleyball.

Construction for the $30 million-plus facility was paid for through a local hotel room tax.

Local leaders expect businesses in the area to benefit.

"Our initial estimates are that we will have $8 million in visitor spending in year one, up to $12 million in year five," Pam Seidl, Fox Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau, said, "but we have groups already signed to come to tournaments from as far away as St. Louis, Indianapolis, and I think it will grow as the reputation of the facility grows."

Grand Chute Town Chairman Dave Schowalter added,"The land that it is one right now, the Town of Grand Chute donated that land. We felt it would be a very good place for it, out here where all of the hotels are and we have the mall out here. We think this will definitely feed the mall. It will help business all over the area."

We're told more than 40 events have been booked here so far.

An open house for the public will take place Thursday, Nov. 21, from 3 to 8 p.m. It's located at 5000 W. Champion Dr., off W. Greenville Dr.

"It's been really fun going and taking people through tours and hearing the reaction of the spaces and kind of that wow factor as they get into the building, that's been really gratifying to hear," said Matt Ten Haken, Director of Sports Marketing.