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 LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Nov. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Walt Disney World plans for a multi-million dollar international amateur sports center covering nearly 100 acres on the Disney property were announced today by Reggie Williams, director of sports development.
 The new center will include a 5,000-seat main-event stadium, giant multi-purpose field house, tennis arena, multi-sport practice fields, running tracks, fitness center and training facilities.
 It will provide professional-caliber training and competition sites and vacation-fitness facilities for at least 25 individual and team sports in its initial phase, according to Williams.
 He said the expansive project would attract thousands of sports enthusiasts from around the world to Central Florida, adding to its growing reputation as a sports destination.
 Judson Green, president of Walt Disney Attractions, said the Disney sports center will also help the entire Central Florida area in its efforts to attract major league teams and professional sports facilities to the area by establishing an important new center for all kinds of amateur athletics.
 College, high school and youth-league teams, amateur and senior athletic groups and individual professional and leisure-time athletes will be invited to share in training, games, sports camps and athletic events as participants and spectators.
 Williams said, "Disney's sports center will organize championship competition and major tournaments in many sports. For example, Walt Disney World is already assured of having one of the nation's premier marathon races with 8,200 runners registered for the inaugural event in January."
 The center will serve as headquarters for many other sports events taking place throughout the Walt Disney World Resort.
 Williams said many sports associations, professional and interscholastic leagues and youth organizations are expected to cooperate in programs and special events for men, women and youth teams.
 Planned sports activities will include soccer, golf, tennis, indoor and beach volleyball, rugby, indoor and outdoor tennis, basketball for men and women, football, baseball, men's and women's softball, track and field, martial arts, badminton, fencing, gymnastics, aerobics, cardio- vascular conditioning and other exercise programs, wrestling, table tennis, weightlifting, body building, roller hockey, wrestling (free- style, Olympic, Sumo and Greco-Roman), handball, squash, racquetball, la crosse, field hockey and other sports.
 Plans are also being made for home run derbies, basketball, slam dunk, volleyball spiking contests, quarterback challenge and other "made for television" sports events.
 The new center also could be the site of pre-season training camps in some professional sports, Williams said.
 The Disney sports center's major components will include:
 -- Multi-Purpose Stadium (5,000 permanent covered seats) adaptable for soccer, football, baseball and other field sports. Additional temporary seating. Night lighting, Clubhouses and Broadcast facilities.
 -- Multi-Sports Field House, with space for six basketball courts, (2,000 permanent seats at the main court) is adaptable for volleyball, gymnastics, wrestling etc., state-of-the-art fitness center, weight rooms, racquetball courts, indoor running track, classrooms, broadcast facilities.
 -- Center Court Tennis Arena -- A professional-level tennis clay court with 2,000 permanent seats and expandable temporary seating plus broadcast facilities.
 -- Sports Camps/Practice & Playing Fields --
 4 Baseball Diamonds
 5 Fields for Football/Soccer/Field Hockey
 4 Outdoor Beach Volleyball Courts
 Outdoor tracks for running, in-line roller skating plus trails
 for jogging-walking-distance running, cycling.
 Concession and First Aid Facilities.
 Coaches, counselors and trainers will be among the staff of more than 100 permanent and part-time employees.
 Williams said later phases of the project are expected to add a hockey rink, an Olympic-size pool for swimming and diving competitions, multiple tennis courts, a sports dormitory, cycling track, miniature golf, bowling and more.
 Exact site for the new sports center on Disney property will be determined as a part of the architectural design process. Construction is expected to begin next year and be completed in 1996.
 Many of the facilities could be ready in time for Olympic athletes and teams undergoing final training and preparation for the XXVI Olympiad in Atlanta.
 -0- 11/19/93
 /CONTACT: Walt Disney World Press & Publicity department, 407-824-4531/

CO: Walt Disney World ST: Florida IN: SU:

SS-AW -- FL004 -- 6554 11/19/93 13:01 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 19, 1993

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