September 22, 2012 in Washington Voices

HUB of activity again

Sports and events center turns things around, director excited for future
 The Spokesman-Review

Two years ago, the HUB Sports Center, 19619 E. Cataldo Road, almost closed its doors. The building was for sale and executive director Phil Champlin was booking activities on a month-to-month basis.

Since then, the HUB has turned things around. Champlin said they are now operating in the black and have taken the building off the market.

“We’ve come a long way,” he said.

This week, the organization will celebrate its fifth anniversary.

The HUB began in 2007, a result of the growth of the Christian sports outreach program Upward Basketball. About 1,000 Spokane Valley children participated in Upward Basketball, and organizers had run out of places to hold events. Business members who were involved in the program contacted the owner of the building, which used to be Sport USA.

The group wondered what identity HUB would develop. One idea was to set up a ministry, but since that would limit the use of the building on Sundays for worship instead of sports, that idea was scrapped.

They knew they wanted it to be a place for youth sports, and set up a plan to lease the space to different organizations. The first organization to rent was NAIA Volleyball, and it grew from there.

Champlin said attendance at the HUB has grown in the past two years. In 2010, they had 99,505 visitors; this year, they expect around 160,000.

“In 2013, I see us growing 10 percent,” Champlin said.

On top of that, the economic impact to the area from out-of-town visitors has grown. In 2010, the HUB was responsible for bringing in around $1.2 million, according to the Spokane Regional Sports Commission. That number grew to $3.5 million in 2011, and should hit $5 million by the end of 2012.

Champlin said the HUB is a success because they have found a way to bring in big regional tournaments while at the same time, serving the local community members.

They offer clinics and camps for children and offer need-based scholarships.

He said he recently received a thank-you card from a student who attended a sports camp over spring break.

“He came on a scholarship,” Champlin said. He said when he received the card, he could feel the difference the HUB was making in children’s lives.

“You can’t measure that,” he said.

This school year, the HUB is gearing up to welcome students from Greenacres Middle School in the Central Valley School District. Champlin said students will get homework help, learn about proper nutrition and the importance of physical activity and participate in enrichment programs such as financial management, career counseling and arts and crafts.

Champlin has been talking to different groups and businesses looking for volunteers to teach classes.

“It’s been fun putting it out to the community,” he said. In fact, he is still hoping for more volunteers and sponsors for the program. While they are starting the program with Greenacres this year, he hopes the program will expand throughout Central Valley schools and into the East Valley School District.

Champlin said the HUB has finally found its identity, offering smaller programs to people of all ages in the community, as well as hosting tournaments.

“It’s come a long way in the last five years,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the next five. We haven’t capped what we can do here.”