When Governor Mike DeWine closed down the state of Ohio in an effort to slow or stop the spread of COVID-19 on May 1 of last year, SPIRE Institute & Academy (IA) immediately began creating a strategy to allow them to continue to host the wide variety of events scheduled for the sports academy’s athletic venues on its Geneva Ohio campus during 2020.
In May of 2020, SPIRE completed a top-to-bottom deep clean while leadership worked on a comprehensive strategy to safeguard the health and safety of its students, campers, parents and guests. Based on the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the local health department, and the Governor’s office, SPIRE put policies in place, including a rigorous Facilities Cleanliness Protocol, while leadership put a strategy in place that allowed them to re-open on June 1, 2020 and stay open continuously and without incident through today.
“This past year has been anything but typical, yet we were still able to provide a top-notch venue for the 2021 Big Ten Track and Field Championships, the Atlantic 10 and Big East Swimming and Diving Championships, as well as many other swimming, volleyball and track events,” said Jeff Orloff, SPIRE’s Chief Operating Officer. “In addition, SPIRE’s boarding Academy remained open and we offered a full range of camps throughout the summer months as well. Everything occurred without incident or interruption, as we did everything possible to provide a location that was clean and stayed within the CDC and State of Ohio Guidelines and recommendations.”
Throughout the fall of 2020 and the winter of 2021, while most venues and programs remained closed, SPIRE Academy began a College Time Out and High School Program, which allowed athletes whose basketball, swimming and track and field programs had been postponed or suspended, to stay on campus and participate in a customized training program.
Due to the closure of some Olympic-level training facilities, SPIRE not only became the training grounds of a handful of Olympic contenders but hired four of them, which allowed them to continue training for the 2021 Olympics.
Already this year, SPIRE has also hosted many premier soccer teams throughout the fall, winter and spring, numerous Ohio Valley Regional (OVR) Junior Olympic Volleyball tournaments and several USA/USOPC Women’s Paralympic Basketball Training Camps. Events on the calendar for May include the 2021 Big East Outdoor Track & Field Conference Championships and even a wine tasting and culinary event with numerous Ohio wineries.
According to Orloff, “We feel confident that, based on what we have been able to undertake over the past year, increating a safe environment for our athletes and guests during the biggest health crisis in the US in more than a century, that we have everything in place that an event producer could need to safely, successfully and profitably sponsor any type of event.”