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Supplement Feature - July 2009

Smart Start

What You Need to Know About Indoor Sports Design

By Kelli Anderson

When the going gets tough, the tough get going—especially when your name is George Derderian. Derderian, the general contractor and owner of North America's largest indoor soccer arena, was determined to keep his promise to open his 267,000-square-foot steel-framed facility on time despite setbacks that interfered with his construction schedule.

Eighty-eight days after breaking ground, the Ultimate Soccer Arenas Complex in Pontiac, Mich., was complete, amazing the design world with its innovation, its vast, unobstructed 72-foot-high interior, its quality and its jaw-dropping construction schedule. "Can't" is apparently not in Derderian's vocabulary, and neither is "compromise"—even in today's tough economy.

"In Michigan it's the worst of all economies," Derderian admitted, "but it has not impacted us because we built the finest facility, and it's exceptional enough that people want to be here over and above any other sports facility. No question."

What newer projects like the Ultimate Soccer Arenas Complex demonstrate is that tough economic times simply challenge us to think smarter. With a cash-strapped public more determined than ever to make their recreational dollars count, indoor sports facilities must offer a quality experience from start to finish. It's all in the details.

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