Fieldhouse update

According to City of Winter Haven Assistant City Manager T. Michael Stavres, staff for the city and the Lakeland Magic were to begin moving into their office space at the Fieldhouse and Conference Center at Chain of Lakes Park this week.

WINTER HAVEN – After a light speed year of construction, City of Winter Haven Assistant City Manager T. Michael Stavres recently said Lakeland Magic training staff and City of Winter Haven employees were scheduled to begin moving in to their new office spaces at the Fieldhouse and Conference Center at Chain of Lakes Park Monday, Nov. 4.

“I expect access for the general public to be in mid to late November,” Stavres said.

According to city documents and statements made at an Oct. 23 Winter Haven City Commission Agenda Review meeting, once the Fieldhouse is open to the public, prices to use the facility will be very competitive — if not less expensive than — those associated with private gym facilities in the area.

At a city commission meeting Sept. 10, rental use fees and policies for the facility were set. Daily use fees and membership program fees were approved Oct. 23.

An individual city resident can soon buy an annual membership to the gym for only $100 and the cost is $200 per year for a resident family membership. For a non-resident family, the cost is $400 for an annual membership.

A premium annual pass for an individual city resident, including use of the swimming pool, gymnasium and the pickleball courts is $284.

A full price list is available on the city’s website. Look for the commission agenda packet dated Oct. 28, and — once viewing that — click on "Fieldhouse Membership Fees" under consent agenda item 9D.

The commissioners also approved a contract between the City of Winter Haven and the Lakeland Magic in reference to naming rights for the facility, a contract which was scheduled for a final vote by the Polk County Board of County Commissioners Nov. 5

According to the contract, Lakeland Magic staff would be the lead staff in reference to selling naming rights for the Fieldhouse, with the Lakeland Magic receiving 70 percent of that revenue and the city getting the remaining 30 percent.

For example, a few years ago RP Funding President and CEO Robert Palmer paid $2.5 million to rename the Lakeland Center as RP Funding Center for five years. If Lakeland Magic staff found a similar deal to rename the Fieldhouse, the City of Winter Haven would receive $150,000 annually.

Federal law restricts the city from receiving more than $250,000 annually in any naming rights deal until the $25 million bond used to fund construction of the Fieldhouse is paid off, sometime around 20 years from now.

The naming rights contract has some limitations on what the Fieldhouse could be named in the future. The Winter Haven City Commission would have the final approval on the name, with naming rights lasting in five year increments.

According to the contract, Lakeland Magic staff would also be the lead sales agency to sell sponsorship for some space around the gym, including the box office, concessions and classrooms.

Stavres said sponsorship for Theatre Winter Haven, the city pool or the Ridge Art Association gallery would not fall under this contract and that if any of these spaces receive sponsorship, the city would receive all of those funds.

Any money for naming rights going to the city would go into the general fund.

City staff are expecting around $35,000 of annual membership fees income, which would also benefit the city general fund, Stavres said.

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Contact Charles A. Baker III at cbaker@d-r.media.

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