New Indoor Sports Complex to Open in Columbiana

COLUMBIANA, Ohio — Athletix, a new indoor athletic training facility, is set to open its doors in August.

The nearly 46,000 square-foot multimillion dollar facility on state Route 7 in Columbiana is owned and operated by the Wardle family of North Lima.

The process to bring Athletix to the Valley began two years ago, and the building took 15 months to complete, the owners say. The cost to build and furnish the facility was not disclosed.

“We chose the location based on the economic boom that’s going on in Columbiana County and we’re hoping to draw from western Pennsylvania, Mahoning and Trumbull County as well,” says co-owner Sean Wardle.

The nearly 34,000-square-foot fieldhouse boasts a turf field featuring a 48-foot ceiling that can be used for baseball, softball, soccer, football, lacrosse and other field sports, says co-owner Michelle Wardle. The adjacent court area can be used for basketball, volleyball, pickleball and other court sports.

Setting Athletix apart from other indoor sports facilities in the region is not only its size, but its commitment to providing the latest sports training technology to local athletes, according to the owners.

The Fieldhouse court features Dr. Dish basketball shot trainers, which help athletes to perfect different shot angles.

In the cage area, a Rapsodo pitch design analyzer allows pitchers to use analytics in their training with pitch velocity, spin rate, efficiency and direction while also showing release analytics. A HitTrax analyzer also is in the cage to improve hitting skills.

Rapsodo and HitTrax are “huge right now in college recruiting” and helping baseball and softball players track their progress, according to Sean Wardle.

“HitTrax allows us to track all of the metrics associated with a hitter’s swing, and it also allows for gamification of the batting practice,” he says.

The hitting technology can also be used to simulate hitting a baseball in Major League ballparks across the country while also allowing players to engage in virtual games with players from anywhere in the United States.

The weight room will feature the velocity-based training technology Perch, which is used by athletes competing in professional-level sports. Perch allows athletes and trainers to create profiles that track weight room metrics such as velocity and speed, says Evan Schneider, weight room manager and personal trainer.

Athletix will also house the TopGolf Swing Suite, an immersive golf and game simulator that offers games for those looking to improve their golf game or just have some interactive fun while in the lounge area. Additionally, it is capable of hosting golf leagues, virtual clinics and target golf.

Athletix plans to hold tournaments in the Fieldhouse space for several different youth sports.

“Tournaments and leagues will be available for people to join. The areas will be rentable by the hour or other time increments,” Michelle Wardle says.

The dining and concessions area, Home Plate, features live views of the tournament games with several 65-inch televisions situated around the seating area. In the future, the family plans to expand the complex with outdoor courts and fields.

Athletix is looking to partner with area schools and has already begun talks with Heartland Christian of Columbiana.

However, the complex is for athletes of all ages and at all levels of competition.

For instance, Ohio State University baseball pitcher and South Range graduate Jacob Gehring plans to use the facility to practice while at home during the off season.

“There’s not a place in northeast Ohio that has everything that [Athletix] has,” Gehring said. “It has cages I can throw in, [and] a weight room that is top of the line.”

The technology used in Athletix’s cages is usually found in college or professional training sites, Gehring added. Access to this training site will allow him to stay conditioned and sharp through the off season.

Pictured: Athletix Owner Group, The Wardle Family
Left to right: Sean, Michelle, Mike, Pam, Rich, Nancy, Rachel and Barry Wardle

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.