Ball rolling on Highlands sports complex

PLANS IN PLACE— An artist’s rendition shows the outside of a $30 million sports complex to be built at the Highlands. The Ohio County Development Authority on Tuesday awarded a $4.2 million bid to Colaianni Construction Inc. of Dillonvale for the the first phase of the project.

WHEELING — The Ohio County Development Authority has approved a $4.2 million bid to build the initial, main phase of a sports complex at the Highlands.

The winning bidder was Colaianni Construction Inc. of Dillionvale. The company had the lowest, complete bid out of a total of six bids filed. One of the bids was not complete.

“Victor Greco, a principal architect with Mills Group, and other staff, including Greg Stewart and other key players, evaluated and brought a recommendation to the Ohio County Development Authority,” said Commission President Orphy Klempa. “It is not always the lowest bid, but the best bid. We took it all into consideration.”

Commissioner and Development Authority President Randy Wharton said the sports complex has been discussed for a long time, but now the “timing is perfect; place is perfect.” He said he believes that “development is mature enough to sustain the sports complex, and we have the money to do it.

“Funding for the project comes from borrowing and paying back hotel and motel tax bonds and cash flow from funds and profits from the Highlands,” he said.

Wharton also said the sports complex will be good for business and Ohio County residents.

“The sports complex is an economic driver to hold tournaments, bring people in from out of town to generate business for hotels, restaurants and other businesses, and is great for our community to use as well,” he said.

Developers plan to build the sports complex on 10 acres behind the Marquee Cinema and Cabela’s Distribution Center. The complex would include six basketball courts, four indoor soccer fields, gym storage, a locker room, a children’s play area and a cafe.

Wharton said the developers plan to break ground during the summer.

“The whole project is to be completed in 220 days,” said Wharton, who said the timeline was specified in the bid. “This is the first, main phase of the project and would be the largest contract.”

Construction would include the180,000 square feet of the indoor main structure, but does not include plumbing or heating. The next phase would be for outdoor fields.

Wharton said the Highlands has about 1,000 acres with about two-thirds of it developed or under development.

“The Highland Events Center and sports complex is a great anchor, as Cabela’s is on the other end,” he said.

Colaianni Construction Inc. previously worked on WesBanco Arena, Liza’s Place, Thomas A. Acker Science Building at Wheeling Jesuit University and Welty Village.

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