Total Athlete Indoor Training Center in Triadelphia, West Virginia
By Dawn Klingensmith
For 40 years, Dave Peluchette has been training athletes. And for almost as long, he has dreamed of opening a big facility where athletes could train year-round. The West Virginia native saw his dream come true in 2010 when the Total Athlete Indoor Training Center opened for business.
The 16,000-square-foot training complex in Triadelphia, W.Va., might not exist today had Peluchette not been willing to think outside the box—literally.
The center is housed not in a traditional "boxy" building, but in a tension fabric structure with an arched roof (picture a tunnel). Due to the engineering of the structure, all the inside space is useable; there are no internal columns or supports to interfere with activities. The soaring roof—30 feet high—offers greater height and clearance when compared with traditional metal or wood buildings.
"We wanted a wide-open building with a lot of height," Peluchette said.
The sense of openness provides a "wow factor" when people first walk in, he added. The training center is 72 by 220 feet long and houses a 60-by-80-foot multi-surface area as well as a 72-by-90-foot indoor artificial turf area. There's a 2,000-square-foot weight room, a basketball court, two full-length batting cages and pitching areas, wrestling and martial arts areas, and locker rooms.
The center offers sports-specific training with experienced instructors to help athletes of all ages reach their potential, Peluchette said. One-on-one coaching is available as well as group and team training.
Peluchette's business partner is his cousin Terry Edwards, who grew up on the same street in Wheeling. The pair have been best friends since they were 2. Both have been training and coaching in various sports for years; currently, Edwards is the head baseball coach at Wheeling Jesuit University.
Peluchette's athletic accomplishments include college football, competitive power lifting and a variety of martial arts disciplines. He holds a black belt from the American Bando Association.
Initially, Peluchette considered housing his training center in an existing Quonset hut but quickly decided it wasn't roomy enough. He began researching similar structures on the Internet and eventually found his way "by accident" to ClearSpan Fabric Structures.
ClearSpan manufactures tension fabric buildings, custom-engineering them to fit the requirements of each specific location. The company is headquartered in South Windsor, Conn., with manufacturing facilities located in Dyersville, Iowa. All structures are made in the United States.
Compared to conventional buildings, tension fabric structures don't cost much per square foot and they have minimal foundation requirements. ClearSpan's Hercules Truss Arch Building was Peluchette's choice for Total Athlete Indoor Training Center.
Although Peluchette is in the business of helping others, he opted not to accept—and pay for—professional assistance when it came time to erect the building. The manufacturer sent everything he needed on two flatbed trailers. Their pre-engineered structures "come in kits and you put them together like jigsaw puzzles," Peluchette said.
It was a tricky puzzle: Peluchette and two other men plus five high school boys (Peluchette's nephews) spent an entire summer doing construction, working from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week. "For me it was a labor of love. For them it was a labor of pain," Peluchette said.
In the end, it was worth it. Peluchette estimates that he saved as much as 50 percent by buying the fabric structure and erecting it himself instead of constructing a traditional building.