LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Finally.
The much-anticipated opening of the Norton Healthcare Sports & Learning Center is just hours away.
This week’s winter storm canceled a ribbon-cutting ceremony, but several track meets are still scheduled as planned starting Wednesday.
The complex was first announced in 2019, and, thanks in part to a $5 million gift from Norton Healthcare, will open as a sparkling, multi-use facility on a once-contaminated patch of 24 acres at 30th and Muhammad Ali Boulevard.
“We’ve got an amazing sports and learning complex right here in the heart of the west end,” Louisville Urban League President and CEO Sadiqa Reynolds, who helped lead the project, told WAVE 3 News on Tuesday.
The space will accommodate 4,000 people in 90,000 square feet and will serve as a venue for track and field events and indoor and outdoor concerts, as well as a haven for learning, Reynolds said.
“I’m excited for the kids, the senior games we’ll be able to host,” she told WAVE 3 News last month. “People don’t understand how beautiful this space is, how much we’ll be able to do.”
Reynolds said the facility is a huge win for Louisville’s Black community.
“It feels like saying to Black people, ‘I hear you and I see you, how hard you’re working,’” she said. “‘You were always good enough, always deserved this.’”
General Manager Eric Granger, who already runs the KFC Yum! Center and Lynn Family Stadium, said recently that the project marks a pivotal milestone for a city mired in hardship the last 12 months.
“Knowing that this facility will impact generations to come ... we take a lot of pride on it and makes all the hard work worth it,” he said.
The UofL track team welcomes Bellarmine, Eastern Kentucky and Notre Dame to the Cards’ first-ever indoor competition at the center Wednesday. The Lenny Lyles Cardinal Invitational is scheduled to begin at noon.
Reynolds told WAVE 3 News on Tuesday that the center is booked solid through March.