Nov. 6—TROTWOOD — Chris Wright knows what it takes to make a dream come to life.
As a former basketball player for the University of Dayton and in the NBA, he knows how hard work and determination can take you places.
His most recent endeavor is creation of the Universal 1 Flyght Dome, an athletic space where he said dream-chasing and dedication can meet, and a place he hopes will serve as a pillar for Trotwood and the surrounding community.
"To get to this next finish line, I feel like I'm making it to the NBA all over again," Wright said of the project, which includes construction of a 50,000-square-foot dome on 32 acres of land. "This is something that I want to live on alongside those leaders of the community who are paving the way for a generation to be successful."
Located at 4533 Covenant House Drive — just west of the Salem-Denlinger intersection and United Theological Seminary — the U1 Flyght Dome is a "sports bubble." The air-supported structure with an inflated roof will serve as a sports hub. It will house 70x70 yards of turf for sports like soccer and lacrosse, and 30,000 square feet of hardwood floors for sports like basketball, volleyball, pickleball, and weight lifting.
But why a dome, as opposed to a gymnasium inside a traditional building structure?
"It's for the wow-factor," Wright said. "I remember playing in the NCAA Tournament in the Metrodome and thinking, 'Man, I want to build one of these.' It's that environment and that vibe."
With a 75-foot ceiling, bright lights, and an air pressurization system, the dome has an environment all its own.
Construction of the U1 Flyght Dome is expected to be fully completed in spring 2024. This will conclude phase one of the project.
Phase two will include construction of an additional 10,000-square-foot facility which will house the Flyght Academic Center, with a larger weight room, classrooms and conference rooms, Wright said.
The project will serve as an extension of Wright's Flyght Academy organization. In affiliation with the Wright Way Foundation and through collaboration with schools, it will offer sports programs for middle schoolers and postgrad athletes.
"We have a year-round program that provides resources for student athletes ... so we can offer the wraparound services that student athletes need, whether it's homework help, or help with the recruiting process."
Phase two of the project will also include an outdoor area, dubbed "The Landing," which will offer amenities like an aquatic center, food truck park, and outdoor recreational areas.
Construction of the dome officially began in March 2022, Wright said, adding that he anticipates the majority of the entire project to be completed by the end of 2025.
"It's definitely taught me patience," he said. "When you see the vision, you see the end goal but as you're going through it, God is shaping and molding you for what's ahead."
"I truly thank Him and I accept the challenge of leading the community in this way."