Arenas Fill Recreational DemandsThe Summit is part of Clark’s larger development, the Capital Centre complex, in Windsor Township near Dimondale. The 100-acre development includes a mix of retail, light industrial, hotel and fast-food restaurants. Clark hopes to add a sports medicine facility in the near future.
The Summit at Capital Centre accompanies the similar looking Aim High Sports, which sits just adjacent. Aim High Sports is a 52,000-square-foot basketball and volleyball facility, which was built in 1997.
Clark, who also owns Aim High, said the two facilities complement each other by diversifying recreational opportunities for mid-Michigan families.
“It’s a good mix. We probably have thousands of young people who use the facilities every week,” Clark says.
The Summit’s 54,000-square-foot field house, which is home to indoor soccer, flag football and lacrosse programs, is a versatile space that can be utilized for special events and trade shows.
“We offer as much diversity and flexibility as possible,” Clark says.
In addition to sporting events, The Summit hosts the annual Greater Lansing Home Show, Shipshewana on the Road and Special Olympics. The facility offers banquet seating upstairs for up to 500 people, which makes it an ideal location for wedding receptions and proms.
The facility is also home to Geddarts’ Twistars Gymnastics Club, which trains hundreds of young gymnasts from beginners to the elite level.
The Summit offers a strength and conditioning program called the Pride Performance Center, which has additional training opportunities for lacrosse and hockey players.
“The program ties into the health and fitness aspect of what we offer. We have the plans drawn up for the sports medicine building, too. It will just depend on when the plans come together as to when we build it,” Clark said.
Future development on the Capital Centre complex site will depend greatly on the state of the economy, Clark says, acknowledging his businesses, which include L.D. Clark Building Co. and Clark Foundation, have been hurt by the economic downturn.
“Everyone is hurting. Michigan has experienced this for the past four years. I’m still optimistic about the future,” Clark says.
Clark says has always looked for ways to diversify his holdings, even delving into junior hockey at one point. The Capital Centre Pride, with its distinctive logo featuring a lion clutching a hockey puck and green, gold and purple team colors, was part of the North American Hockey League and played at The Summit. The team began play in the fall of 2000 but lasted only three seasons in Lansing.
“The timing just wasn’t right, and the structure of the league hurt our chances for survival,” Clark says. “I wouldn’t rule out doing it again if the conditions were more favorable.”
Breslin Student Events Center
One local arena hosting large sporting events is the Jack Breslin Student Events Center at Michigan State University. Named after Jack Breslin, longtime Michigan State Univeristy advocate and administrator, it’s the home of MSU men’s and women’s basketball and seats over 15,000 spectators for basketball games and other special events, from concerts and monster trucks to the circus.
“We have been averaging around 150 events per year. That includes basketball games, concerts and smaller meetings,” says Cheryl Swanson, executive director of the Breslin Center.
The Breslin Center, which opened on the west edge of campus in 1989, has structured rental rates for events. Even the MSU athletic department rents the Breslin Center from the university for games–about $3,300 per women’s game and $9,000 per men’s game.
“We are in the business to make money and operate at a profit like any other venue. The economy hasn’t been a huge impact yet on our events. We haven’t seen a dramatic drop off in tickets sales for concerts, and we are holding steady with the number of events we host,” Swanson says.
However, suite rentals for concerts and other special events at the Breslin Center are down, compared to recent years. The MSU Athletic Department rents the suites for basketball games.
The success of the MSU men’s and women’s basketball teams is good for business at the Breslin, Swanson explains.
“[The basketball teams’] success reflects positively upon us. Being placed in a good competitive position is important because this state is blessed with so many great arenas,” Swanson says.
The Breslin Center, which operates within the auxiliary services of the division of housing and food services at MSU, has 13 full-time office staff members and utilizes over 300 students filling roles as ushers and security team members.
Swanson, who arrived at the Breslin Center two years ago after running Eastern Michigan University’s Convocation Center, believes the family shows she books will continue to be the backbone of the Breslin Center.
“Things like Playhouse Disney Live, which we have scheduled for March, and the Sesame Street Live shows, and the circus…those are the things that continue to draw families to campus. Those shows really contribute to the experiences that our community can enjoy,” Swanson states.
While not able to put a “multiplier” to the economic impact the Breslin Center generates, Swanson says obviously events at the arena generate commerce for the surrounding businesses.
“We bring in people who use overnight accommodations, eat at the local restaurants, stop at the area gas stations and stores. I think we help make a difference in the local economy,” Swanson said.
One new initiative of the Breslin Center is its involvement with MSU’s arts and culture group, which is focused on bringing many different culturally driven events to the campus and community, explains Tracie Kalkbrenner, marketing and sales coordinator for the Breslin Center.
“We are very involved in trying to cross-promote events where possible and share ideas on promoting our events,” Kalkbrenner says.
The initiative seeks to promote art and culture on campus by providing a catalyst for cultural exchange, she explains.