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Soccerplex plans scaled back

The Bethlehem Soccer Club is modifying plans for an indoor sports facility at its location on Wemple Road. Initial plans (pictured) called for an 87,500 square foot building. The new building will likely be half that size. (submitted photo)

The Bethlehem Soccer Club is modifying plans for an indoor sports facility at its location on Wemple Road. Initial plans (pictured) called for an 87,500 square foot building. The new building will likely be half that size. (submitted photo)

For years, the Bethlehem Soccer Club has prepared to build an indoor soccer facility at its complex on Wemple Road.

Now, club officials are looking to meet their needs for indoor fields while scaling back their original plans.

At their annual meeting held Thursday, Dec. 8, club leaders said they were retooling the plan after analyzing costs and the feasibility of the project.

“The reality is, once we saw the plan for the smaller building, it actually fits in a nicer spot at the Soccerplex,” said club Co-President Brian Whitman. “It’s less intrusive. It affords us just about everything we need anyway, and it’s half as much money.”

The club first presented plans for the building to the Town of Bethlehem in 2009. An updated version of the plan for the 87,500 square foot building was presented to the town’s Development Planning Committee in February. Initial estimates then put the project’s cost at $3 million. Club officials weren’t firm about a new cost for the scaled-down version at their latest meeting, but floated a number of $2 million during their discussions.

“The other thing that’s advantageous for us right now is interest rates are so low that when you look at the business plan for this, even with a smaller building to bring in less revenue, we can afford to actually borrow a higher percentage of the cost of the building, and still have the same debt service,” said Whitman.

Co-President Mark Sweeney told board members that a study of the project created with the help of a consultant would likely be presented to the club in the next couple of months.

“We came to the realization that we wouldn’t be able to raise quite as much money as we would hope, so we kind of changed the plans to fit what we think is a reasonable budget and to make it work,” said Sweeney.

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