By MADDY VITALE
The Ocean City Sports and Civic Center is a popular venue for athletics and special events and has been for years.
However, from the look of the outside and inside of the building, it was clear that it needed a bit of TLC, city officials said.
Which is why construction crews are transforming the dated building with a $2.2 million renovation to showcase what it can and will look like.
The center, at 6th Street and the Boardwalk, will become a more functional facility with an expansion project and facelift.
The city put money toward it in its 2019 capital plan. Over the years, the Sports and Civic Center has served as both an athletic complex and also an entertainment venue as well as a staging area for special events on the Boardwalk.
Although the project has been in the works for a while, the finished product — anticipated in February — will be worth the wait, explained Michael Allegretto, aide to Mayor Jay Gillian.
“The city team is very pleased with the current progress of the Sports and Civic Center addition,” Allegretto said. “The new amenities will certainly make the building a better facility for our local and visiting sports teams. I can’t wait for the project to be completed and the public gets to experience the improved facility.”
Allegretto explained what everyone would see when viewing the exterior and also gave an idea of what it will look like on the inside.
“From the outside you can see the addition for office space and much needed storage for all of our activities,” he said. “From the inside you can see the bathrooms and locker room spaces really taking form.”
On Friday afternoon, construction crews were working on the interior.
The building plays an important role in the city’s sports scene and as a venue for special events. The complex has been rented out year after year by college sports teams for practice.
Villanova University’s football team has practiced at the stadium in recent years.
Mayor Gillian has said in his plan to improve the complex, that with added amenities and being more aesthetically pleasing, it will make it more attractive to the sports teams that use the building during their workouts at the adjacent Carey Stadium high school athletic complex.
In 2019, city officials unveiled an architectural rendering of what the updated Sports and Civic Center project would look like during a City Council meeting.
Specifically, there will be new locker rooms, bathrooms and a concession area. An overhang will be added to the entryway to protect people from the rain and also to improve the building’s overall appearance.