Ramsey County is poised Tuesday to sell the naming rights of the Vadnais Sports Center to Twin Cities Orthopedics (TCO) for nearly $2 million.
The Ramsey County Board will vote Tuesday on the naming rights deal and unveil the new name for the Vadnais Heights facility, which had been plagued with financial problems before the county bought it from the city in 2014.
Plans have been in the works since last summer to replace the sports facility’s fabric sports dome — which collapsed in 2010 and 2018 due to heavy snowfall — with a steel-supported structure akin to a fieldhouse.
Ramsey County Parks Director Mark McCabe said county officials had spent nearly a year mapping out the future of the facility and exploring naming rights options before deciding to partner with TCO, which opened a clinic next door to the sports complex in 2017.
“It’s a great community partnership. They have been a really good neighbor,” McCabe said. “That tie to health equity is a great thing to have in this partnership.”
TCO purchased naming rights for an undisclosed amount to the Minnesota Vikings’ new Eagan headquarters in 2016 and built a new clinic next to the team’s campus, which also features TCO Stadium.
If the County Board approves the Vadnais center’s naming rights deal as expected, TCO will pay $60,000 this year and $135,000 annually for the next 14 years, according to county documents.
The deal would extend through 2034, with the money going toward rebuilding and maintaining the complex.
“We’re grateful for this opportunity, and truly believe this is a big win for Ramsey County and the greater Vadnais Heights community,” Becky Anderson, vice president of clinic services at TCO, said in an e-mail.
Anderson said that TCO has seen demand rise for rehabilitation, sports medicine and sports performance services since its Vadnais Heights clinic opened.
She said TCO provides sports medicine services for three east metro high schools and supports dozens of local youth and booster groups.
“This naming rights agreement deepens our ties within the local community, and represents the exciting growth and opportunities coming to residents across Ramsey County,” she said.
The Vadnais Sports Center was built in 2010 by the city of Vadnais Heights for $26.5 million. After several years of financial difficulties and the first dome collapse in 2010, Ramsey County bought the beleaguered facility in 2014 for $10.5 million.
McCabe said the facility, which leases time to local soccer, lacrosse, youth baseball, and hockey teams, is now self-supporting. The county has seen some profits, which have been rolled into a facility capital improvement fund that now has about $600,000.
The county manages 11 ice arenas, including the one in Vadnais Heights. McCabe said the county’s deep experience — “over 40 years of experience in the ice facility operation” — has helped stabilize the complex’s finances.
The dome’s second collapse, in April 2018, triggered a lengthy community conversation about the facility’s future. The dome has been closed since its collapse, but two indoor NHL-regulation hockey rinks have remained open.
County commissioners voted last year to build a permanent fieldhouse at the site at an estimated cost of $6 million. The “turf facility will be one of the only indoor sports centers in the northeast metro,” according to county officials.
McCabe said the estimate for the project was now around $8.5 million due to rising steel prices, soil remediation and the condition of the existing structure’s foundation.
The sports center is home to hockey teams for White Bear Lake Area High School, Mounds View High School and Gentry Academy. It’s also home to the White Bear Soccer Club and the North Suburban Soccer Association.
Secondary uses for the new fieldhouse will include community expos, trade shows, gymnastic meets, public open times, consignment sales and craft shows, according to the county.
Vadnais Heights City Administrator Kevin Watson said the city is pleased to see the county investing in the turf facility but expressed some regret about the name change.
“I know many of our residents have been eagerly anticipating the reopening of this tremendous facility,” Watson said. “Thank you to Twin Cities Orthopedics for making this happen.
“That said, we would have been happier to have this wonderful facility carry our moniker. We look forward to working with Ramsey County to actively market the facility and our community in the future.”
Shannon Prather • 651-925-5037