Jackson Hole Sports Facility Moves Forward


JACKSON HOLE, WY — A project that has been in the works since 2014 is on the brink of breaking ground.

Blue Collar Restaurant Group owner Joe Rice is backing an estimated $5 million project to build a state-of-the-art indoor sports training facility in the South Park business area off Highway 89.

Rice plans to break up the 35,000 square feet of space into sport-specific areas. He said he would like to sell 10,000 square feet of space in order for construction to begin to make the complex more cost-effective.

“If I sell all 10,000 square feet of that to users, I’ll break ground in the fall,” he said.

In 2014 Rice bought a piece of property off of South Highway 89 to build a 25,000-square-foot sports complex. He sold the land and purchased the new 1.5-acre property, allowing for the additional 10,000 square feet.

Plans for the complex include a 100-by-200-foot playing field, space for youth sports offices, specialty gyms and complementary uses such as a mixed martial arts studio and physical therapy practices.

“Everything we’re putting in there has to be sports,” Rice said. “It has to be related to the facility. I’m being very picky about who I even talk to.”

Rice plans to bring in Rob Karas as one of the technical directors of the facility and to run the soccer program. Karas is the president of SoccerTech.com and is also owner and president of Coerver Mountain West, a six-week soccer training program. Rice said Karas’ experience as a soccer instructor will only help to legitimize the new facility.

“He brings some of the best skills in the country to the facility,” Rice said. “As far as soccer skills, soccer training, he’s one of the best in the country. He trains national team players. He trains Kyle Beckerman all the time. He trains a lot of guys on Salt Lake Real. He’s the best.”

The facility will house much more than soccer, though. The large field can accommodate up to four teams and several sports at the same time. Even a sport that often requires 400 feet of space, such as baseball, will be welcomed as batting cages will be part of the make-up.

Youth, adult and rec league sports will all be welcomed in the inclusive facility. Even the parents involved in sports only through their children will be able to benefit from the complex.

“You bring your kid in, you drop them off to soccer or lacrosse, and you go upstairs and you work out,” Rice said. “Instead of going home and coming back in an hour you can go up in the facility and do some stuff.”

Field space in Jackson is tougher to come by each and every year, especially during the winter months. Rice said anyone in the town who likes to recreate will benefit from the building.

“It’s going to be cool,” he said. “It’s going to be something that the town will embrace. It’s inclusive. It’s for everybody. It’s not for one age group. It’s for everybody from adults to youth sports — for everybody.”