April 2—WORTHINGTON — The sky is the limit for possible uses for Worthington’s new JBS Field House. And if you’re out of ideas, don’t hesitate to ask Field House manager Cory Greenway for more.
“Whatever you can design for a big open space, we can probably accommodate it,” Greenway said one recent afternoon as he sat in a corner and looked west across the space. main covered with green carpet of the Field House. Already, local spring pre-season sports practices have taken full advantage of the spacious area, and even when split in two, golf and baseball teams can comfortably hold their practices there at the same time.
Clearly, the Field House is a dream come true for spring sports athletes looking forward to better weather for outdoor practices. But potentially, there is so much more than that.
“Anything you can imagine doing outdoors,” Greenway said, can be accomplished at the Field House.
Well, maybe not ice hockey. There is no ice so skating would be a problem. The main arena is covered in a synthetic mat which is ideal for lining up baseballs and softballs, as well as hitting plastic golf balls. But if you wanted to practice your slap shot, you had to switch to field hockey.
Greenway and his assistant, Erin Robinson, already have plenty of equipment on hand, useful for playing bocce, spikeball, kanjem, cornhole, lacrosse, badminton, tennis, the aforementioned field hockey , and more.
You may not know what spikeball and kanjem are, but you can always learn.
Don’t want to learn? OK, maybe you’d rather try sepak takraw, which is a kind of volleyball sport.
“We would just need a ball. It’s basically volleyball played with your feet,” Greenway explained.
Sepak takraw may not be the sport of choice for older people who have taken up pickleball, but pickleball is definitely viable at the Field House. The ball may not bounce off the woven polyester turf the way it does on more traditional surfaces, but with a little practice the game can be enjoyed by everyone.
The Field House is perfect for wiffle ball. Why not organize a wiffle ball tournament in February? Is your church looking for something new? How about a church wiffle ball league?
Play rugby, kickball and dodgeball. Handball, disc golf and even drone racing.
Of course, the installation need not be limited to sports. Concerts can be held at the Second Avenue location down the hill from the fire station near Lake Okabena. It can be perfect for corporate events, birthday parties, daycare trips and family reunions – bring your inflatable bouncy houses too.
Greenway said the Field House can serve as a back-up venue for Windsurfing Regatta music events (for the music, that is… installing a lake could be problematic).
Dog shows? Why not? They are often staged indoors anyway.
And events related to hunting with or without dogs.
The lounges too. Greenway thinks the Field House could easily host ice fishing trade shows. Plus, it’s only a short walk to the lake.
International events? Sure. Senior events? Sure. And not just for Worthington. Towns in the region are encouraged to reserve the use of the facility.
Construction of the entire structure is underway, but the Field House is much more than its largest section.
Adjoining office, recreation and viewing spaces will include unique playground equipment. Giant foam building blocks have already been received and are waiting for their special space. Plenty of seating and tables will be set up for event viewing and for sharing refreshments.
Greenway sees the entire building as a great selling point for Worthington itself and for a wider audience nearby.
And it will only get better. Opened for temporary occupancy in February, the facility quickly grew to about six hours of daily use. Once fully open, it is hoped to be in use most afternoons and some mornings, and as long as 9 p.m.
Who knows how popular it will become?
“The best thing that can happen is to have an overwhelming use and desire for it. And in a few years, we might have to get more funds and decide if we want to build another space, and where would that be?” said Greenway.