About The Project (Sports Center)

Project Type

  • 5-acre municipal athletic facility set within an existing 300-acre park
  • Two 85' x 185' roller hockey arenas
  • One 85' x 185' soccer arena
  • One 50' x 90' soccer arena
  • 22,000 sq. ft. skate park
  • Operations building
  • Pro shop
  • Concessions
  • Gourmet Coffee Cart
  • Restrooms
  • Changing areas
  • Storage and offices


City of Escondido
Community Services Department/Recreation Division
201 North Broadway
Escondido, CA 92025


Loretta McKinney, Director of Library & Community Services
Karen Williams, Older Adults Services Manager


Halsey Design Group
9001 Grossmont Boulevard
La Mesa, CA 92041-4084

Matalon Architecture & Planning
7550 Eads Avenue, #202
San Diego, CA 92037


The Augustine Co.
8334 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92111

Project Description

The Escondido Sports Center is located approximately 1/2 mile east of Interstate 15 in Kit Carson Park. This 5-acre facility is an addition to the existing 300-acre regional park, and adds a new dimension to the amphitheater, softball, soccer and baseball fields, tennis center, hiking trails, picnic areas, arboretum and play areas already provided.

Phase One of the Sports Center, completed in November 1997, included one 85' x 185' roller hockey arena, one 85' x 185' soccer arena, a 20,000 sq. ft. skate park, operations building with pro shop, concession area, restrooms, changing areas, storage offices, 91 new parking spaces, and lighting throughout the area. Construction cost for Phase One was budgeted at $2 million. Phase Two, completed in September 2000, added one 85' x 185' hockey arena, one 50' x 90' soccer arena, and additional parking. Phase Three, completed in November 2003, added two roofs over the hockey arenas and state of the art solid tile flooring for each rink. Phase four expand the staff office by an additional 400 sq. feet and prepare the land for a future Phase Five which is a 2000 sq. foot Community Building available for use by all community minded groups.

Project Development

In early 1994, the Community Services Department was approached by a group of community members interested in finding a place to play arena soccer and roller hockey. Staff approached the Community Services Commission about providing these facilities within a city park after receiving community input. Upon review, the City Council supported the concept and in response to requests from local skateboarders directed staff to include a skate park within the complex. Positive feedback from a feasibility study prepared by Economic Research Associates prompted the City to move forward with the project.

Staff and the Commission reviewed vacant parklands looking for a suitable site for this project. Kit Carson Regional Park was selected as the ideal location. An amendment to the Park Master Plan followed to include the project, and final plans were prepared.

Youth Participation

Escondido has over 2,500 children playing soccer and the addition of an arena soccer facility to the Center seemed a natural addition to offer the community. Inline hockey and aggressive skating are skyrocketing in popularity and are currently among the fastest growing sports in the country. We often overlook the most obvious needs of the children and focus on the negative aspect of their behaviors. The Skate Park will reduce conflicts between kids and authorities, reduce property damage, and provide a supervised, safe place for kids to enjoy themselves.

Throughout the design and program development phases of this project children have been involved. Focus groups helped to refine the facility design and the program offerings. The 12-ft. vert ramp and 6-ft. bowl were suggested and draft drawings developed by local skaters. Staff from the City's Engineering Department working with these same skaters completed the final designs.

"If you want to know what a child is, study his/her play; if you want to affect what he/she shall be, direct the form of play."

— A philosophy of play, foreword by Joseph Lee, 1920.

The Center provides a safe, supervised place where kids can do stunts on skates or a skateboard, play hockey or soccer. Programs offered provide opportunities for the entire family.

Center Financing

The development of Phase One also included three other park projects — the realignment of a park road, undergrounding of electrical utilities, and the replacement of a water service main. Funding for these projects, along with development of the recreation facility, were combined into one project. The following is a breakdown of the funding sources utilized for the project:

Park Development Fund $1,395,000
Park Lease Fund $135,000
Underground Electrical Waiver Fund $190,000
Street Interest Fund $175,000
Water Enterprise Fund $105,000
Total Construction Budget (Phase One) $2,000,000
Total Construction Budget (Phase Two) $700,000
Total Construction Budget (Phase Three) $975,000
TOTAL $3,675,000

Center Operations

The City of Escondido Community Services Department operates the Center. Based on the projections presented in a May 1996 feasibility study by Economic Research Associates and the potential to generate surplus revenue for the department, the City of Escondido made the decision to manage the facility rather than lease it to a private operator.

One full-time recreation manager, one full-time recreation coordinator, one full-time maintenance technician, and 10 to 15 part-time employees staff the facility. City staff supervise all programs and activities within the Center. All activities and programs are fee-based and self-supporting. Surplus revenue goes to the department's "special revenue fund" for future program development and/or operation of Recreation division activities. The Center generates an average of $550,000 annually. Surplus revenue has increased steadily each year since its opening in 1997.


A comprehensive sponsorship program has been developed that encourages local and national companies to be involved in the Center. Advertising opportunities are provided throughout the facility on T-shirts, jerseys, dasherboards, skate ramps, and league schedules. A copy of the sponsorship packet distributed to potential advertisers is available upon request.


As with any facility, marketing was very important to this project. The marketing goal was to create awareness and excitement about the Sports Center. Promotion and marketing began in December 1996, with a targeted opening of October 1997. Marketing tools utilized included: television news stories, newspaper articles, staff presentations at service clubs and local high schools, and flyer distribution to school children as well as through retail shops.


The Center operates year-round offering leagues, tournaments, day camps and daily skate park sessions. Excluding summer and holiday breaks, the operating hours are 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., on Saturday and 1:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Sunday. While programs are fee-based and self-supporting, the department's "Share a Dream" scholarship program ensures no child is excluded because of financial barriers.


The California Parks and Recreation Society awarded their 1997 Award of Excellence in facility design and park planning to the Sports Center. The award is presented to a Parks and Recreation facility that demonstrates high standards of planning, design, operation, and maintenance.

The Escondido Sports Center received the Project of the Year award from the American Public Works Association (APWA) San Diego/Imperial County Chapter for outstanding facilities under $2,000,000. Criteria for the award includes: use of good planning, design and construction techniques, community relations, consideration given to environmental concerns, unusual accomplishments, and the degree to which the project enhances a public service or facility.