XENIA, Ohio — A brand new athletic facility is expected to make a large economic impact on Ohio as well as a big impact on athletes.
Athletes in Action broke ground in Xenia on the John Wooden Family Fieldhouse, which is expected to serve 400,000 athletes a year.
What You Need To Know
- Athletes in Action focuses on the development of the total athlete: physical, mental and spiritual
- The organization broke ground on the John Wooden Family Fieldhouse, a project in the works for seven years and costing more than $13 million
- The indoor facility will include nearly 600,000 square feet of playing surfaces, including an indoor turf football/soccer field
- Athletes in the program say they’re excited to see how the facility will impact future generations
It was a joyous day in Xenia, as the ground-breaking ceremony officially started construction for the John Wooden Family Fieldhouse. The facility will be home to indoor sports fields and courts for Athletes in Action (AIA), including an indoor football field. The basketball players with AIA will be getting plenty of work done in the gym when it’s done.
Right now, they have to practice at Wilberforce University. Soon, that won’t be the case.
“Having our own facility will be better for the future generation coming,” AIA basketball player Lionel Kumwimba said. “I think that’s going to be a big blessing for them.”
But this basketball team is a lot more than what meets the eye. AIA focuses on the total athlete, with a major focus on faith.
“Being in a faith-based place with believers is a pretty big emphasis for me,” said Carson Starns, an AIA player.
Starns was drawn to the organization last year after he decided to leave college and needed a place to train until he found where to go next.
“There was one point, I don’t want to say discouraged, but very not passionate about basketball because there were no games to look forward to. It was just training for a whole year,” Starns said. “But they helped me grow a lot.”
Between practice, weight training, recovering, bible study and leadership classes, Starnes said Athletes in Action has helped prepare him for his next steps.
“I grew on the basketball court, but definitely as a person,” he said. “I’ve definitely matured over the last year and four months that I’ve been here.”
Starns isn’t the only one. Kumwimba is from the Congo and joined the team just four months ago. He said he’s glad to have this community.
“Me coming here was God’s plan because I had a dream, really,” Kumwimba said. “When I first talked with the coaches, I was praying for it, because I had some other offers, but God wanted me here, so here I am.”
And while these players celebrate the beginning of new possibilities with the new facility, they know they most likely will be playing in college or professionally once the doors open in the spring of 2024. But that doesn’t keep them from their excitement.
“Very excited to come back in a couple years and see the building, hopefully, play some basketball in it when it gets built,” Starns said.
This project has been in the works for seven years, with about four of those years needed for AIA to raise the $13.5 million needed. The fieldhouse will include six playing surfaces for football, baseball, softball, soccer, lacrosse and track, with almost 600,000 square feet of field turf.