Ribbon-cutting ceremony, tours show off fieldhouse to public
BULLHEAD CITY — Was it unanimous at Friday’s grand opening that the Anderson Auto Group Fieldhouse is beautiful?
Possibly not, but it was difficult to find someone with a dissenting opinion after about 500 people attended the public unveiling of the Colorado River Union High School District’s new multipurpose athletic building.
“I know that when many people came in here, their first thought was ‘wow,’ ” fieldhouse General Manager Ed Catalfamo said. “I do that every day.”
The floor of the arena was set up to show some of the sports the main space can be set up for, with (mostly) young athletes putting on demonstrations. At the building’s east end, the Bullhead City Firebirds Pop Warner football team scrimmaged.
In the middle, high-schoolers convened impromptu basketball and volleyball practices. Further west, a three-on-three pickleball demonstration took place.
And at the west end, the Hawaii-bound Bullhead City Challenge U-14 girls team ran soccer drills, with a few boys helping out.
Catalfamo said rugby, field hockey and lacrosse also can be played at the venue.
The meeting/banquet space, near the front of the building, was divided into areas that showed how it can be set up for a child’s birthday party, a formal dinner or wedding, a business conference and a quinceañera. Partitions between the spaces were not lowered, giving a clue as to how it might look as one large room that seats 400.
The fieldhouse, 3663 Bullhead Parkway, will host Mohave and River Valley high school athletics, as well as youth sports and tournaments.
“I think it’s amazing,” said Teshel Robinson. “They did a nice job.”
Mohave basketball player Dylan Barela and other high school athletes consider the fieldhouse a clear upgrade.
“I like playing basketball at home (on campus),” Barela said. “But this is definitely nice. There’s nicer wood on the floor.”
CRUHSD Supt. Benje Hookstra said the district has purchased floors that were used in arenas at major universities — floors from Syracuse and Texas Tech were on display Friday.
“It looks amazing,” MHS volleyball coach Zdenko Radic said. “I think it’s gonna be great for the community and for the kids.”
Snowbird and pickleball player Susan Bahl said she and her husband came away impressed.
“Someone has done a wonderful job of planning it,” Bahl said. “They really thought it out well.”
Robinson’s fiance, Austin Tissot, was among several people to note that the fieldhouse will be a refuge from the Tri-state’s brutal heat.
“When it’s 110 degrees, 115 degrees, it’ll be nice to have an option like this,” he said.
Catalfamo said both the athletes and the spectators will appreciate the climate control.
Tom Brewer’s response was what Catalfamo predicted would happen for many.
“It’s beautiful,” Brewer said. “I was in shock when I came in, at how nice it was.”
Jess Moreno, of Bullhead City, noted the sometimes-controversial path the fieldhouse took from idea, to the ballot box to reality.
“You always get people who complain,” he said. “But this can be used to benefit the city, if they use it right. They can have concerts or a home show here.”
Catalfamo said the turnout was “fantastic” and the feedback from visitors was positive.
The Mohave Community College commencement ceremony is scheduled to take place in the fieldhouse next weekend, with River Valley and Mohave graduations the following week.
A June wrestling camp and tournament will be the venue’s first sporting event.