‘The Podium’ is taking shape in downtown Spokane

SPOKANE, Wash. — A state-of-the-art project is making progress in downtown Spokane. Next year, The Podium will be able to host events like track and field competitions, volleyball tournaments and more. That’s just the beginning.

Demolition of the site near the Spokane Arena started in June 2019. Each day, it started taking shape. The Podium is expected to draw in thousands.

“The main purpose of this facility is obviously indoor track, but it will also serve functions for volleyball, for basketball, for wrestling,” said Ryan Ford, Senior Superintendent of The Podium project. “So it’ll be NCAA certified. We can host NCAA Division 1 meets. We can host masters track.”

The six-lane, 200-meter indoor track will be in an 80,000 sq. ft. space on the east side of the building. One of the most unique features of the track is what it sits on.

“The hydraulic is imbedded in a pit down below the curbed banks,” Ford said. “When it’s not track season, those hydraulic banks get lowered before it gets covered with a protective surface.

A banked track allows runners to make a turn on the curve with less effort, therefore having the ability to run faster.

On top of the surface, the floor can be converted to a variety of sports.

“We can stack 16 volleyball courts in here,” Ford explained. “Nine basketball courts, full-sized courts.”

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A scoreboard will also be mounted on the side of The Podium. On the other side are the bleachers, which can hold about 3,500 fans. Behind the scenes, construction crews are building a training area for the athletes. Two warm-up lanes will be constructed for the men and women.

The ground floor is only the start. Up on the next floor, people enter the building using two different entrances. People can get also get to the bleachers using five entrances.

“Spectators can use the concourse where we’ve got public restrooms, concessions, all that kind of stuff for spectators,” Ford said.

On the south end of the floor, tables will be placed near the concessions. It leads to a deck that wraps around a portion of the building. The view overlooks downtown Spokane and the Pavilion.

Tables will also be set up outside for fans and athletes to take a break with a view. A path leading from The Podium goes down to the new Ice Age themed park.

Up another floor, announcers and photographers can get a full view of the ground floor. All together, The Podium is 135,000 sq. ft.

“In my opinion it’s going to be invaluable for the community, especially for the future,” Ford said. “Spokane’s always played a huge role in sports and that kind of stuff. Locally, I think this will bring in a lot more national type events and larger regional events.”

The Podium is expected to bring in about $33 million a year in tourism spending.

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