North Notes
Spokane-North Rotary Club Bulletin
June 13, 2022
            June 20: Rotary lunch. Noon at the Bark.  Topic: ALSC architects.
            Friday, June 24: Year-end Rotary gathering at Art and Robin Rudds’ house – 5:30pm arrival for happy hour. “Other halves” welcome.  Email Lenore if you plan to attend.
            June 27: Rotary lunch. Noon at the Bark.  Speaker: Holmes Principal Kale Colyar.
            Hutton Settlement and Arbor Crest: Club 21 has invited our members to join them at 4 p.m., Monday, June 27 for a tour at the Hutton Settlement, 9907 E. Wellesley.  Following the tour, about an hour later, members are invited to the cliff-side Arbor Crest Winery, 4705 N. Fruit Hill Rd.  Club 21 will offer two glasses of wine to those attending.  Spouses are welcome at the events.  You must RSVP to Club 21 in order to attend – send your message to
The Podium
            How to describe the Podium?
            Among the words during the June 12 tour of club members and spouses: “Amazing. Huge. State-of-the-art.”  
            And, often: “Wow!!”
            The $53 million multi-purpose facility at 511 W. Dean seems to “fit all the boxes” for athletics, large gatherings and concerts for attendance of 2,000 to 6,000 people.  The Podium smartly fits crowds that are larger than 1,500-2,000 (the opera house and The Fox Theater) and smaller than the 12,000-seat Veterans Arena.
            Our Podium tour guide was Paul Christiansen, director of sports for the Spokane Public Facilities District, who has an encyclopedic array of facts and figures on the dimensions, the staging, the set-up times for each event and even the very loud volume of hundreds of teen-agers filling 16 volleyball courts. 
            He also knows how to accommodate huge high school graduation crowds, including 5,400 people last week at one commencement.
            The facility is 135,000 square feet and the main floor is 78,000 square feet – 360 feet long by 250 feet wide. In addition to track and volleyball, the Podium can hold 9 basketball courts or 21 wrestling mats. A 90-meter warm-up track also is provided.
            The signature attraction is the 6-lane, 200-meter banked oval track which can be raised in just 3 minutes, using 39 hydraulic lifts.
            Christiansen said the Podium has the only such banked track west of the Mississippi River and Texas A&M in College Station.  Since the NCAA has required banked tracks for indoor records, hundreds of collegiate athletes from the West have visited since the Podium opened in September. The USA Track and Field Championships were held Feb. 25-26.
            On our tour, the banked track was down while some 3,100 folding chairs were being stowed from the high school graduations.  The main floor can hold 4,000. 
            Ten years in the making, Integrus Architects and Lydig Construction did the Podium work.
            Christiansen, who played and coached volleyball before joining the Public Facilities staff, pointed out challenges which remain.
            Paramount is parking.  The Podium site is squeezed into space east of the Arena and Civic Theater and south of the soccer stadium under way.  Though the Podium lists 8 nearby lots, that parking shares with other businesses and Riverfront Park.
            When a “rain day” was needed for Mead and Mt. Spokane outdoor graduations last week, they used the Arena, about the same time four other high school commencements crowded in the Podium. 
            So when weekend events compete at the new stadium next year (5,000 people), the Arena (up to 12,000), Civic Theater (500) and the Podium (up to 6,000 for concerts), parking will be in short supply.
            Christiansen said the former Value Village and adjacent sites north of the Arena will add 350-plus parking spots, but said adding a building for parking could just make traffic jams worse.
            One possible solution would be an elaborate shuttle system to drop patrons at the various venues.
            Another challenge, he said, is downtown issues.  Paul said he has had three out-of-town calls asking about crime and homelessness downtown.  One call even came from the U.S. Karate Championship tournament, June 30-July 12.  Seattle, Portland and other cities have similar issues.
            And one challenge is softening the echo-chamber effects of the hard concrete and metal surfaces.  That is most important for concerts desired reverberations, now at 3.1 seconds, but desired about one second of sound rebound.
            Another issue is how many out-of-town patrons can find flights to Spokane at a time when airlines are cutting back.
            And one more to-do list is finding more storage for all the gear, chairs and other amenities.  But perhaps building the concourse to the new stadium may provide space there. 
            Challenges aside, the Podium shines above its 15-foot basalt outcrop and promises to make Spokane another sports and entertainment hot spot.
Bulletin Editors:  Chuck Rehberg and Sandy Fink
The lights are worth a look
            One of the more distinctive features in the huge glassy concourse are the huge LED lighting fixtures, which some describe as “mad hornet nests.”
            Paul Christiansen said the multi-slatted panels “could be a nightmare to dust.”  One suggestion, he said, might be using a leaf blower.