STAMFORD, Conn. – In less than a month, the sports landscape will change dramatically in Fairfield County with the opening of Chelsea Piers Connecticut.
The final pieces to the large puzzle are being put into place at the facility, which is being built on the former site of Clairol off of Exit 9 off Interstate 95. The facility will offer ice skating, swimming, soccer, lacrosse, gymnastics, tennis, squash, baseball, softball, field hockey and a trampoline center. There will also be child care, restaurants and party rooms. Construction began last year on the 400,000-square foot facility, which sits on 33 acres.
“The project has gone extremely well,’’ Executive Director Mollie Marcoux said. “We have a good team and we’ve been pulling it together. I think the hardest thing has been the enormity of the project. There are so many big items that we’re developing in a short period of time. The construction has gone so well it has put more pressure on the programming.
Last week, workers were putting the final touches on the facility, including flooring, lighting and paving the parking lot. The swimming pool is filled and awaiting swimmers. The ice rinks just need skaters. Most of the other venues are also completed.
The first people to come through the doors will be children arriving for camp July 9. Marcoux believes visitors will be awestruck by the facility, where an Olympic-sized swimming pool is a Derek Jeter single away from the hockey rink. “It’s a huge place, but our whole mission is to make it feel like a small place,’’ Marcoux said.
The instructors are also first-rate, including soccer legend Kristine Lilly for soccer camps, International Tennis Hall of Famer Gigi Fernandez and several well-known local names, such as Matt Stack (director of rinks) and Jamie Barone (director of aquatics)
The club still has to firm up its programming for the fall. In the meantime, Marcoux and the staff at Chelsea Piers Connecticut are anxious to open the doors to children for the first camp.
“When you see the kids’ faces and their huge smiles, that’s going to be the payoff,’’ Marcoux said. “There's so much energy and so much interest in Fairfield, it’s this hotbed of athleticism. It’s so unique and so cool to have a sports facility like this. That’s what makes me the most excited.”