HAMPTON – Athletes of all ages will have a new place to shoot some hoops and strengthen and condition their bodies with the opening of the new $2.5 million Rim Sports Complex and Athletic Performance Center of Exeter Hospital.
The facility at 311 Winnacunnet Road held a grand opening Saturday to give Seacoast sports enthusiasts a look inside the new 36,000-square-foot complex built next to Seacoast United Soccer Club’s indoor arena.
“Our goal is to develop the complete athlete through education, nutrition, and skill development,” said Hampton resident Tom Viviano, who co-owns the facility with Peter Maher of Exeter.
The complex features five high school sized basketball/volleyball courts and the Fast Break Café to offer healthy food for athletes.
It also houses the new 2,200-square-foot Athletic Performance Center of Exeter Hospital, which will provide strength and conditioning programs for athletes of all ages and sports. The team providing the training will include strength and conditioning specialists, physical therapists, occupational therapists and corrective exercise specialists.
This is the first time the hospital has opened such a facility that will offer high-end, elite sport specific training, according to Jeffrey Meisner, senior director of rehabilitation services at Exeter Hospital.
“This is going to be a very busy facility,” Meisner said. “Sports for kids are becoming a lot more sophisticate and we want to educate and train them to be better athletes.”
Clubs planning to use the new complex include Great Bay Volleyball, Seacoast Spartans AAU basketball club, and the Visionary Basketball Camp and Zero Gravity Basketball, both based in Massachusetts.
“This is huge for the Spartans,” said Chris Coates, director of the Spartans AAU club and operations manager for the Rim.
The complex will give the Spartans a permanent home, meaning the club will no longer have to rent out court time at different locations on the Seacoast.
“Now we’re going to have one central home,” Coates said.
The Spartans – a club targeting youth from grade 2 to 12 — has about 200 members from the Seacoast area and another 200 from the Manchester area who use the Sports Zone Indoor Sports complex in Derry.
The facility is already 75 percent booked and has 24 basketball and volleyball tournaments under contract, Viviano said.
Viviano said the facility will also offer an after-school program with a certified teacher to help children with their homework before working on their “skills and drills.”
Teaching proper nutrition will also be important, especially given the growing concerns over childhood obesity, he said.
“There really isn’t a lot of education going on about it,” he said.
Ben Fitzgerald of Hampton, whose son, Tyler, 10, plays sports, including basketball and soccer, said he hopes some of the town’s teams make use of the Rim.
“It’s an excellent facility,” he said.