Sports complex opens

One of the Charlotte area's largest indoor sports complexes opened recently in a former manufacturing building in Lakeside Business Park at Interstate 77 Exit 36.

Benchwarmers Sports Complex is a family-run facility offering a basketball court, batting cages, batting tees, pitching cages, golf ranges, a putting green and an indoor field for other sports such as lacrosse and soccer. Volleyball can be played on the high-school-regulation basketball court.

Maxplay artificial turf by Mooresville-based Medallion Athletic Products covers all the playing surfaces except the basketball court in the 40,000-square-foot complex. One of the four pitching cages has a dirt mound.

One of the five golf ranges allows players to try any of seven virtual 18-hole courses. The complex has five batting cages and four batting tees.

Benchwarmers also intends to host Wiffleball tournaments, kickball, dodgeball and soccer and lacrosse leagues.

Owners are Ron and Joyce Hutcherson, their daughter, Roni Hutcherson, and their son, Rick Hutcherson.

The family formerly owned Hutcherson-Pagan Enterprises, which operated a chassis fabrication facility in Charlotte and a parts supply store in Lakeside Business Park, known for its many motorsports shops. The family sold the business two years ago.

The Hutchersons started refurbishing the former puzzle manufacturing plant at 302 Rolling Hill Road in May. It had been vacant about two years.

Open seven days a week, Benchwarmers has instructors for golf, baseball, softball and basketball. Golf pro Jerome Ingram repairs and sells clubs. Agility training is also offered, and Joyce Hutcherson said aerobics for mothers might also be added.

Benchwarmers also has a conference room and study rooms with free wireless Internet.

Rick Hutcherson said the only similar facilities he knows of in the region are an indoor baseball training center on Westinghouse Boulevard in Charlotte and ex-Carolina Panthers football player Ricky Proehl's basketball and football indoor complex in Greensboro.

Benchwarmers: 704-664-1218;