Nathan Snyder, seated, and Jake Suman try out the new workout equipment in the new athletic complex at Northwestern Schools Thursday evening. The new multi-million dollar complex was officially opened Thursday evening during a reception and open house. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Northwestern Local unveils $3.4M athletic complex to the public

Northwestern Local School District cut the ribbon on its new, multi-million dollar athletic complex this week.

The 16,000-square-foot, $3.4 million dollar project just broke ground in the spring and was paid for with permanent improvement levy dollars, said Northwestern Local Superintendent Jesse Steiner.

The facility features a state-of-the-art weight room, locker rooms for athletes and coaches, a concession stand, ticket booth, athletic training room and a coaches’ conference room to watch film or devise strategy.

Steiner said while the district does have newer school buildings — when those were built, storage space wasn’t part of the plan.

“We didn’t have locker rooms near any of our outdoor playing fields. We didn’t have a place for players or spectators to go in inclimate weather. We were lacking in storage areas,” he said Thursday before the facility was unveiled to the public. “We were trying to put stuff into any mechanical closet we could.”

One of the major benefits is the facility’s proximity to the athletic fields. Athletes won’t have to haul up to the locker rooms at the high school for practices, games or during bad weather. And while the complex offers a lot of perks for the district’s athletes, Steiner said he’d also like to see it become a hub for the community.

The complex also has a community room with a kitchen, where people can gather for any reason from board meetings to baby showers.

Additionally, Ohio Valley will be leasing a room at the facility where doctors will see patients on-site for physical therapy.

“We wanted to think of all the needs that we could have,” Steiner said.

Steiner said the district put out more money for a quicker turnaround time for the project so that it would be available for the 2018 fall athletes to use. The football team was able to get in the complex for the first time during a home game against Milton-Union on Friday.

“That was really important for us,” Steiner said.

The school board voted unanimously in October to hire Garmann Miller as an architect for the project.

“What drives me to Garmann Miller is that we’ve already engaged them to do a lot of our work,” school board member Russ Steele said previously.

Steiner said the permanent improvement levy money that was used for part of the project can’t be used towards salaries, benefits or school supplies.

He said the new complex is a perfect use of the money, and he was pleased with how well it meshes with the existing buildings in the district.

“I can only use the money to improve the facilities, repairs, upgrades and building projects. Anything that is going to last longer than five years.”

Steiner estimates it will take 15 to 17 years to pay off the building.