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Cycling League Headquarters at Albright

In April, the World Cycling League (WCL) announced that it will build its $20 million world headquarters and a state-of-the-art indoor velodrome on a seven-acre  site owned by Albright.

The National Velodrome and Events Center at Albright College, a 2,500-seat, high-tech cycling arena, will be the second world-class indoor velodrome (bicycle racing track) in the United States and the first on the East Coast. In addition to live-streaming worldwide coverage of WCL international cycling meets each year, the modern technology-enabled facility will host year-round cycling programs, pre-Olympic training camps and events, collegiate events and a variety of other sporting events and special programs.

WCL principals first pitched their National Velodrome concept to representatives of  Berks County and the Greater Reading community last September. Berks County Commissioner Christian Leinbach put Pam Shupp, “We had an overwhelming response from property owners, developers and construction companies who wanted to be considered,” said Pam Shupp, CEO of the Greater Reading Economic Partnership. “But when we got the call from the president of Albright College expressing interest, we knew this could be the winning formula.”

President Emeritus Lex McMillan agreed: “We had been looking for unique things to set Albright apart and to support Reading community initiatives. After meeting with Pam and WCL principals, we realized that having an international velodrome connected to the College would put Albright at the forefront of cycling development,  enhance our community and become a unique recruiting tool for new students with  an interest in cycling.”

McMillan and President Jacquelyn S. Fetrow, Ph.D., envision cycling as a varsity club sport and would like to provide student internships at the velodrome and enhance Albright’s business curriculum by adding related courses in sports marketing, event management, video production, communications and more.

WCL’s CEO, David Chauner, is enthusiastic about the Albright partnership and solid support from Reading and Berks County community leaders. “We couldn’t find a better public/private partnership than this to usher in a new, inclusive way of showcasing track cycling to the public and provide more opportunity for cyclists,” he said.

According to economic research, the velodrome will generate more than $30 million per year in spending from 50,000 annual out-of-town visitors and will create more than 160 jobs in the area. Its unique year-round programs and special events will regularly draw teams, clubs and fans from a 150-mile-plus radius, and the WCL and Albright will offer a comprehensive program of community cycling activities including youth and scholastic cycling clinics, developmental classes, local club programs, corporate outings and special training camps for current and future Olympic cyclists. Some 50 world-class male and female cyclists who compete in the WCL are expected to reside in the area and serve as trainers and coaches in collegiate and community programs.

“Partnerships are what make things happen,” said Berks Commissioner Christian Leinbach. “If you want to see this community change, ideas are a starting point, but what will make the difference is when elected officials, the private sector, the community and an entity like Albright College says we want to be part of this. The Burkey Group of Reading has been chosen to build the facility, which will be located  on Rockland Street west of 11th Street. Construction is expected to begin by late summer 2017, with the goal of opening the velodrome for the 2018-19 academic year.