Reprinted with permission from The Republic newspaper, February 14, 2023

The first truckload of steel for the Circle K Fieldhouse arrived at NexusPark Monday morning.

According to project superintendent Mark Garrett with Force Construction, roughly 100 truckloads of steel — about 2,000 tons of material overall — will be delivered over the next six weeks.

“In this first week, we’ll have 24 truckloads come in,” said project manager Brett Siepka. “Six today, 10 tomorrow and the remaining through the rest of the week. So it’s heavy on the frontload, and getting the material on site, shaken out, put into the locations where we can sub-assemble it and put it up in the air is crucial.”

Mike Wolanin | The Republic The first shipment of steel for the Circle K Fieldhouse is unloaded at NexusPark in Columbus, Ind., Monday, Feb. 13, 2023.

About 90% to 95% of the foundation work is complete, and only the east side remains, he added.

Cranes will be brought in on the third week of April to begin assembly, said Garrett.

According to Siepka, they expect to complete the project by the end of the year.

“It’s a very special moment,” he said, “and Force is honored to be a part of this project and helping the city supply this for the Columbus community.”

Garrett likewise said it was “pretty incredible” to reach this milestone.

“I’m a lifelong Columbus resident,” he said. “And been involved with parks and rec over the years, really special to see this come to fruition.”

NexusPark is a joint effort between the city of Columbus and Columbus Regional Health to transform the former FairOaks Mall into a health, wellness and recreation center.

The development will include a 150,000-square-foot fieldhouse that is intended to be “a sports and events venue that will host a multitude of different types of sporting and non-sporting events,” including local, regional and state sports tournaments, as well as potentially hosting trade shows, conferences, graduations and large-scale community events, according to the project’s website.

City officials announced at last week’s ceremonial groundbreaking that the fieldhouse will be named the Circle K Fieldhouse, and the fields inside the space will be named for the late John McCormick. Circle K is a major donor to the project, and McCormick was part of the NexusPark fundraising team.

Columbus Director of Administration and Community Development Mary Ferdon said in late January that the Circle K Fieldhouse is expected to be substantially complete by the end of 2023 with a possible soft opening in the first quarter of 2024. City officials hope to book tournaments and other events in advance, with these starting to take place in the second quarter.