Peach Belt Conference Commissioner David Brunk received multiple calls recently soliciting suggestions for a soccer venue.
NCAA Division II meetings were being held in Indianapolis, Ind., and bids were received for potential host sites for the men's and women's national soccer championships.
What NCAA officials saw must not have impressed them, Brunk said.
The commissioner met last week with Columbia County officials to present the possibility of Blanchard Woods Park playing host to the national championships from 2011 to 2013. A bid has been submitted.
The Peach Belt Conference held its conference championships at Blanchard Woods Park in the fall and will hold them there again in 2010. Brunk said the response has been positive.
"The teams have thoroughly enjoyed it," he said. "It's been good for the area."
One obstacle to the county securing a bid could be the lack of locker rooms at Blanchard Woods.
Brunk, county recreation Manager Charlie Beale, and Community and Leisure Services Director Barry Smith have discussed building four locker rooms at an initial estimated cost of $350,000.
Smith said the project could be funded through 1-percent sales tax.
The estimated economic impact for the county to play host to the championships is $500,000 each year, said Brunk, who noted the additional exposure of the games being nationally televised.
The locker rooms would also serve other purposes. Youth soccer programs would use the facilities, and Brunk said the park could lure cross country championships and conference challenge soccer events that pit Peach Belt teams against other conference programs.
The new locker facilities would include four rooms for men and women and an officials changing room.
"What a great opportunity for this area, (but) the lack of locker rooms could be something that could ultimately hurt the opportunity to bring the event to the area," Brunk said.
Smith said last week that county officials likely will discuss the addition of locker rooms at the park, but he did not know when.
Brunk expects to hear the results of the bids in June.
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