The Ramsey County Board voted unanimously Tuesday to sell the naming rights of the Vadnais Sports Center to Twin Cities Orthopedics (TCO) for nearly $2 million.
The deal with TCO, which will extend through 2034, will help fund the maintenance and renovation of what now will be called TCO Sports Garden.
The company will pay $60,000 for the first year, then $135,000 a year for the remainder of the contract.
TCO, which opened a clinic next door to the facility in 2017, also plans to build a physical therapy and sports performance space in the fieldhouse that the county will build in place of the sports dome there, according to Chris Bailey, vice president of sports medicine and therapy.
“Demand is rising as athletes in the region seek access to world-class facilities and experts, and we think Vadnais Heights can be a destination for sports medicine,” Bailey said in a statement.
Vadnais Heights built the facility, which includes two NHL-regulation rinks and a sports dome, in 2010 for $26.5 million. Ramsey County bought it from the city four years later for $10.5 million after it became a financial burden for the city and its investors.
The facility’s fabric sports dome collapsed in April 2018, forcing cancellation of all turf programs and prompting county officials to begin planning last year to replace the dome with a fieldhouse structure.
Ramsey County Parks Director Mark McCabe said the initial estimate of $6 million for the project swelled to more than $8 million because of rising steel costs, installation of fire suppression tools and foundation work due to heavy rainfall.
He told board members Tuesday the project will break ground in the spring, with completion set for November.
Commissioner Nicole Joy Frethem, who represents Vadnais Heights on the County Board, said the lack of space for youth sports forces some teams to play whenever they have access to facilities, even if it’s at inconvenient times.
“The need for this facility is really evident,” Frethem said. “We can’t have kids playing well into the night in order to get better physical fitness.”
“This partnership will serve as a great model for future public and private partnerships with Ramsey County and beyond,” McCabe said.
Mohamed Ibrahim (email@example.com) is a University of Minnesota student on assignment for the Star Tribune.