The long-awaited Nittany Valley Sports Centre took another step toward realization Wednesday when the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a master plan for the facility and the parcel on which it sits.
Initial approval of a center master plan was made about a year ago, township Manager Doug Erickson said, however the plan was taken back by the developer to relocate the facility and look at different uses for the land. A revised plan was brought to the board in December.
According to developer Mark Torretti, of PennTerra Engineering, the new plan makes more extensive use of the property owned by his client, local developer Michael Lee. A revision of the plan came after realizing the center doesn’t need to be the most visible aspect of the property, and it was moved to the rear of the parcel.
The center and accompanying facilities are planned for the tract located at the intersection of Fox Hill and Bernel roads. When proposed more than a year ago, the plan sought to build a sports center with indoor fields, a gymnastics school and room for offices.
Future phases of the plan were to include additional fields, a hotel and a private secondary school.
Development of the parcel will now come in three phases, Torretti said. The first phase of development will focus on the sports center and associated structures and will come in different parts.
The first part will focus on the construction of the 85,000-square-foot facility offering various uses including turf fields and a gymnastics school, he said. Construction will also include a multipurpose field and parking for the facility.
An access road, dubbed Champion’s Drive, will divide the property, he said. The township will have public right of way access should the neighboring property wish to develop and connect to the road. A stormwater management system along the north end of the property will also control flooding to neighboring properties.
The second part of phase one will see a 36,000-square-foot addition to the facility and a second multipurpose field, he said.
The construction and completion of the sports center is his client’s primary goal, Torretti said.
Future phases could see commercial-use lot development adjacent to the facility, he said. The other side of Champion’s Drive, the most visible part, may see development of residential duplex units, a hotel, restaurant and other commercial uses.
When the plan was first proposed to the board in December, the township Planning Commission had recommended sidewalks be added to Fox Hill and Bernel. As there are no nearby sidewalks to connect to, Torretti said, he did not include plans for them.
Supervisor Walt Wise said the roads should have sidewalks, but Supervisor George Downsbrough disagreed, saying people would likely be driving to the center at least during the first phase. Sidewalks could be added in later phases during the land development plans.
Resident Ted Brown raised concern regarding the Fox Hill/Bernel intersection, saying traffic moves too quickly along the road and requested a change in signage. He too agreed sidewalks would not be a good idea, but rather the roads should be widened for bicycle traffic.
According to the board, the roads are state-owned and any signage choices come from the Department of Transportation. While the board cannot change the signs, they said they would pass their and Brown’s concern to PennDOT.
Toretti said in December that developers would likely break ground by summer, with a center opening date around November 2017.