The immediate future of youth sports in New Mexico remains uncertain.
But by fall, the hope of local businessman Josh Skarsgard is to open a 45,000 square-foot multi-sport facility called the “Q Sports Arena” on six acres in the West Side’s Coors Pavilion Shopping Center near St. Pius High School.
Former New Mexico State player and recent UNM Lobos assistant coach Brandon Mason, who is involved in the project and would run the basketball operations in the facility, said such a venue would be the next step to “put Albuquerque on the map” for a variety of youth and amateur sporting events.
“An indoor and outdoor sports facility of this quality will allow our local clubs to pursue regional and national youth basketball, soccer and volleyball events, bringing more visitors to Albuquerque,” said Mason in a news release, adding the venue “will put Albuquerque on the map as a potential venue for a variety of amateur sports events.”
The facility is in the planning stages with a completion goal of this fall, according to Skarsgard, owner of Retail Southwest Development. The arena is seeking financing through local banks and will seek Local Economic Development Act assistance.
“This multi-sport indoor and outdoor facility is long overdue for the west Albuquerque community,” Skarsgard said. “We hope it will provide convenience to local sports families tired of driving long distances for training or events.”
The facility intends to house four high school size basketball courts, eight volleyball courts, four indoor futsal soccer courts, one indoor soccer field and a covered outdoor facility that will provide four sand volleyball courts and one additional outdoor artificial turf field with lighting.
While classes and training will be the focus during the week, hosting large scale regional events on weekends is the plan for the facility, which the group’s announcement indicates would “generate 30 direct jobs”.
Mason, who was in charge of recruiting for the Lobos and has helped run youth basketball events and coach in others in Texas and Arizona in recent months, is familiar with the club basketball scene and recently accepted a position as President of Basketball Operations of the newly formed non-profit Albuquerque Basketball Club, Inc., which plans to utilize the facility. Former UNM Lobo Nikki Heckroth-Lobato will be the Director for Girls Basketball for the Albuquerque Basketball Club.
Skarsgard said he is also in discussions with existing area youth sports organizations about use of the facility.