After building the Bonita Springs Poker Room at the former Naples-Fort Myers Greyhound Track in Bonita Springs, PBS Contractors moved on to the second project at the site: Sports Challenge America.
The facility offers up 10,000 square feet of fun, with six bowling lanes, five simulator rooms, a concession/bar, a private party room that can accommodate up to 25 people and outdoor football, golf, basketball, baseball and soccer challenge areas.
“The general goal was to provide the community with a multifaceted entertainment location in one location,” says David Minton, senior project manager at PBS Contractors. “So it’s a really family oriented entertainment space that provides multiple entertainment activities.”
Visitors enter Sports Challenge America through a bright lobby area with exposed ductwork, and then can head to one of the simulator rooms or the bowling lanes. The outdoor bar on the east side of the building with space for up to 36 guests overlooks the outdoor sports zones. Design elements inside and out echo the neighboring Bonita Springs Poker Room for a unified look.
Designed and built by well-known bowling industry firm Brunswick, the eye-catching bowling lanes serve as a centerpiece of the Sports Challenge America site. Color-changing LED lights add a stylish and entertaining touch to the space, and Brunswick’s state-of-the-art StringPin system makes resetting lanes after a frame quick and easy. Custom-made walls “give it the look and feel of a private resort,” says Minton.
Simulator rooms also have custom wood veneer walls, giving the spaces a homey vibe for gathering with friends and family. But Minton also appreciates all the virtual transformations possible in the rooms. “There are multiple activities available at your fingertips there,” he says. “You can engage in almost any sport or activity that your mind can imagine.”
A full-service commercial kitchen has its own dedicated HVAC system and fire suppression unit for safe and efficient service from Sports Challenge America’s food venue Teed Up. In addition to the appealing outdoor bar, a small indoor cafe/dining area provides an additional option in the event of bad weather.
The exterior of the site includes an architectural portico with 24 Dizal panels. The digitally printed aluminum panels provide the look of wood without the upkeep or sustainability issues that go along with it. “They’re very good for the environment here in Florida,” says Minton. “They’ll last forever, and they’re light and easy to install.”
To start with, PBS Contractors had to reconfigure the site’s storm drainage system into the Imperial River Basin. That included damming off the existing control structure, excavating new outflow retention areas and installing a new control structure.
Labor and material shortages resulting from the pandemic were also an issue during the project, which took place from April 2022 to February 2023. Minton says that required being able to look ahead multiple months to foresee the materials that would be needed at later stages of the construction schedule to ensure they would be on hand. “The lead times doubled and tripled for construction materials,” he says. “So in order to schedule the labor for the job, you had to acquire the materials in a timely fashion, or there was no reason to have your trade partners on site. But we were able to schedule it efficiently and provide the client with an on-budget and on-time scope of work.”
Those oh-so-cool bowling lanes also required the ability to plan ahead and multitask. “When Brunswick came in to install the bowling alley, they basically took the building over,” says Minton. “So we had to schedule the final finishes for the interior around the construction of the bowling alley, because of the multifaceted installation process that it takes to put in a bowling alley.”
That included recessing the floors, installing floor joists and a sub floor, then installing the bowling lanes on top of all of that, all while ensuring everything was fire-rated. “There’s a tremendous amount of details involved in the installation of a multi-lane bowling facility, while we were also completing the simulators and concessions and bar areas,” says Minton.
Nokomis-based freelance writer Beth Luberecki, a Business Observer contributor, writes about business, travel and lifestyle topics for a variety of Florida and national publications. Her work has appeared in publications and on websites including Washington Post’s Express, USA Today, Florida Trend, FamilyVacationist.com and SmarterTravel.com. Learn more about her at BethLuberecki.com.