BLAINE, Minn. (July 10, 2018) – Anyone attending Schwan’s USA CUP in 2017, could see that major segments of the National Sports Center (NSC) campus were impacted by construction. The good news is that the teams attending the 2018 tournament can expect most – but not quite all – of the major campus construction projects to be completed for this year’s tournament.
“We appreciate how patient everyone was last year, and we are excited that the visitor experience should be much more streamlined in 2018,” said Schwan’s USA CUP director Jen Een.
USA CUP 2018 will welcome 1,150 teams – third largest in the tournament’s 34 years – representing 20 countries and 20 states. The event will generate $36 million in total economic impact, including $28 million generated by visitors staying overnight.
Among the improvements for 2018 will be additional parking spaces, improved traffic flow into and out of parking lots, and the installation of artificial turf in the NSC Stadium.
Here is a breakdown of some of the changes:
The contractor was adding landscaping to the median on 105th Ave. on Tuesday, which is one of the last tasks before the road is fully opened to traffic.
105th Ave NE reconstruction
The question on everyone’s mind is, “Will the construction project be completed and the road opened up in time for USA CUP?” The answer is yes.
What used to be a potholed four-lane 50 m.p.h. road cutting through the NSC campus has been repaved and two new access points to the NSC campus have been constructed. One roundabout is situated to allow access into and out of the Main/Super Rink parking lot. A second roundabout just east will access to parking lots on the north side of 105th. This project is a City of Blaine project.
What used to be a potholed four-lane 50 m.p.h. road cutting through the NSC campus will be repaved with new pavement and new access points to the NSC campus. Two roundabouts are being installed on 105th Ave. to slow traffic down to about 30 m.p.h. One roundabout is situated to allow access into and out of the Main/Super Rink parking lot. A second roundabout just east will access to parking lots on the north side of 105th. This project is a City of Blaine project.
Centerview Elementary School construction
At the 2017 tournament there was a fenced off construction zone on the west half of the Main Parking Lot featuring several massive piles of dirt. Admittedly, it wasn’t pretty. On top of that, a major traffic access road off Davenport St. was temporarily closed.
But at USA CUP 2018, the dirt piles have now been converted into a new Spring Lake Park School District elementary school, named Centerview Elementary School. The school is scheduled to open for students in September of 2018.
The new school will become the new Schwan’s USA CUP tournament headquarters in 2019, with space for team check-in, the soccer store, and tournament administrative functions. The traffic access road from Davenport St. has been reopened, and will be open for USA CUP 2018.
The bottom line is that Schwan’s USA CUP staff and customers will have to wait until 2019 to utilize all the great benefits of the new school. But this year, the site has been cleaned up, traffic access reopened, and customers can get a good picture of what the future USA CUP headquarters will look like – from the outside at least.
Artificial turf fields in the stadium
The NSC Stadium has been renovated with the installation of artificial turf on the full expanse of the stadium floor. Installation of the new turf began in the fall of 2017, and continued in the spring. The fields officially opened in May, and they will be available for play during Schwan’s USA CUP 2018.
The 185,000 square feet of turf can be painted in any field configuration, for any field sport. For soccer, there is room for two full-sized fields, six small-sided fields, or a combination of both. The plan for USA CUP this year is to utilize two full-size fields configured in an east-west orientation.
The new stadium configuration will allow more room for the parade of teams at USA CUP Opening Ceremonies on July 17, 2018.
A new parking lot has been built on the former site of field U3, south of the Velodrome. This lot is the new parking lot for the Indoor Sports Hall. A new entrance has been built at the west end of the Sports Hall. Teams playing in the USA CUP Indoor Tournament next summer will use this new parking lot and entrance.
One small, but important, additional parking improvement for the 2018 tournament is that a gravel access road will be open from 109th Ave NE into Parking Lots F and G.
Closure of road to Parking Lot B
The access road to Parking Lot B along the south side of the NSC Stadium will be permanently closed to through public driving. The road will be closed at the east end of Parking Lot A (southwest corner of the Sports Hall building) to the northeast corner of field C2. Minnesota United FC players and staff will continue to have access to Parking Lot B, as will National Sports Center operations staff accessing the NSC maintenance building.
Commuters who used this road as a cut-through the NSC campus will no longer be able to use that option. Some Super Rink customers used this road as a back way to the rink, and they will now need to use the entrance off Davenport next to Centerview Elementary School.
Minnesota United FC Training Grounds
The National Sports Center is the home of Minnesota’s MLS team, Minnesota United FC. The team has built a new locker room in the east end of the Indoor Sports Hall. During Schwan’s USA CUP 2018, selected USA CUP teams will be given behind-the-scenes VIP tours of the locker room.
Additionally, United has completely rebuilt fields C1 and C2 into their outdoor training fields – regrading the fields, installing new natural grass and fencing the entire area.
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