CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Icy winter weather has made it difficult to keep up with outdoor recreational sports and indoor facilities in Centre County have dwindled in recent years. To fill the need for a safe and accessible gym space, Nittany Valley Sports Centre finished their expansion and opened new indoor courts last month.

“The area’s needed a hard-court space like this for a long time,” said Michael Lee, owner and general manager of Nittany Valley Sport Centre. “As Penn State has made some of their spaces less accessible to the public over the years, the need for a place like this has become even more evident.”

The Centre added about 52,000 square feet, which features gymnasium space for basketball and volleyball. The space is directly next to the facilities indoor turf field.

Like many businesses, they felt the affects of the pandemic when their construction was delayed.

“We were closed for four of the last 10 months for COVID, so it wasn’t necessarily that we were bursting at the seams and we wanted to, we needed to open this space, but sort of a confluence of events led us to this point,” said Lee.

It was state and local grants, totaling $2.9 million dollars, that made the expansion possible.

“We were able to show that running events in this space, both sports and otherwise, will bring people from out of town to the area and fill hotels and restaurants,” said Lee.

The owner says the most rewarding part has been the relief on parents faces when they express their thanks that they have a safe and fun place for their kids to play sports.