The Middletown study will consider a possible leisure center in the old school

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MIDDLETOWN – The Township Committee and Middletown Township Public School Board announced that they have retained Pinnacle Indoor Sports to conduct a study to determine the feasibility of repurposing the school property from Port Monmouth to create an indoor sports and recreation center for the community.

Pinnacle, based in Louisville, Ky., has conducted similar studies in 41 states and has a team with more than 60 years of combined experience in the field, according to a press release issued by the township.

“In 2019, the school in Port Monmouth was closed and has been vacant for two years,” Board of Education chairman Frank Capone was quoted in the press release as saying. “We are proud to partner with the township to work towards creating a much-needed indoor sports and recreation complex for Middletown residents, rather than selling the property to the highest bidder where it could end up being overdeveloped.

The Port Monmouth School opened in 1928 and sits on a 3-acre property on Route 36. The former school is a 25,750 square foot building with two full floors and a partial basement, according to the press release.

“Ideally we would like to be able to retain some aspects of Port Monmouth school history in this project,” Mayor Tony Perry said. “Our intention is to seek feedback from our residents, local sports organizations, leagues and clubs to ensure that we are using this property to best serve the needs of the community.”

Pinnacle has been selected to conduct the study through a request for proposals process due to its expertise in recreational sports research and market assessment, according to the press release.

The company recently completed several large indoor sports centers in the Northeast: Schafer Sports Center, a 38,000 square foot facility in Ewing Township; XL Sports, a 78,000 square foot sports center in Hatfield, Pennsylvania; and House of Sports, a 120,000 square foot indoor sports complex — the largest complex in the New York metro area that was repurposed from an existing manufacturing company, according to the press release.

For the Middletown project, the feasibility and market analysis will include in-person, telephone and/or virtual interviews with multiple stakeholders starting this month.

Pinnacle will report on the growth and popularity of various sports, both nationally and in Middletown, as well as unmet sports-related needs and demands in the community, according to the press release.

For example, an online gaming component will be considered as it continues to become part of popular culture.

Pinnacle will also investigate opportunities for ancillary use which could include non-traditional sporting activities such as summer camps, partnerships with other area recreation organizations and individual youth programs to help determine how the facility would be developed and operated.

“The goal is to develop a facility that can be financially self-sufficient,” Perry said.

After completion of the stakeholder interview and research phase, Pinnacle will submit a summary report to the township and school board.

The report will include a financial model and an economic impact analysis. If deemed financially feasible, the project will then proceed to the design consultation phase, according to the press release.

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