Play ball

Sanford’s Pentagon opens next week for local sports programs and will host its first big-ticket games in October.

In a tour this morning, work on the facility looks close to completion in time for the Oct. 10 tip-off between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Milwaukee Bucks.

Sure, there are murals to put up in each of four tunnels leading to the main Heritage Court, concession areas to finish, eight locker rooms to deck out and many more jobs that I’m probably not even aware of. They’re not popping the popcorn yet, but the official balls have arrived.

We’ll give you a peek with a story I’m writing for tomorrow’s newspaper. One thing that struck me is that the place is definitely designed for a classic basketball experience, the kind where you feel close to the action and a shareholder in the outcome.

"It’s all about fan and player experience," said Eric Larsen, general manager of the Sanford Sports Complex. "You’re never more than 19 rows away."

The Heritage court has that old-school look with high-tech amenities. You’ll see a lot of rich browns, from the parquet floor to wooden bleachers and brown chairs in the stands. Even the rusty industrial beams are covered with a product to make them appear to be wooden beams.

Here’s one other thing that struck me as fun, at least worthy of a quick photo — all the giant letters that spell Sanford waiting to go up on the buildings outside. Look for the full story in tomorrow’s paper or online at