Academy Sports: Cookeville construction on schedule

Fifth interchange contract ‘pending’

A rendering of Academy's 1.6 million square foot Cookeville distribution facility.
A rendering of Academy’s 1.6 million square foot Cookeville distribution facility.

COOKEVILLE – Construction on Academy Sports + Outdoors’ massive distribution facility in Cookeville is on schedule, officials told the UCBJ this week, and a key interstate exit road project that will help serve the development is likely to top the $22 million mark.

Academy’s 1.6-million-square-foot warehouse – the equivalent of nearly 28 football fields – has been under construction since late 2014 and was scheduled to be operational in early 2016.

Ken Attaway, executive vice president and chief operating officer, in an exclusive interview, said that timeline holds true. Academy Sports will begin receiving inventory later this month and will ship to a limited number of stores beginning in March.

Academy expects to create 700 full-time jobs in Putnam County by 2020. The Texas-based sports outfitter is still interviewing to fill a variety of positions; its first round of hiring took place earlier this year.

“Some new hires will start this month, while others will join our team in early 2016,” Attaway said. He did not have a specific count for number of new hires.

SEE: Officials get Academy updates

SEE: A timeline: How Cookeville landed the state’s largest distribution facility

A limited number of hourly and salaried positions are available. Interested job candidates can find information and apply online at

Academy Sports, for months last year referred by its code name “Project Victor” was a heavily touted economic development win when first announced in August 2014.

Earlier this year, Congressman Diane Black, who toured the site, said Academy plans to supply 100 retail stores via the distribution center. The facility is located just west of the Highlands Business Park.

“I am thrilled that Academy Sports chose to make this investment in the Upper Cumberland,” Black said. “The distribution center is proof positive that Cookeville has the location, the infrastructure and the skilled workforce to be a thriving business hub in Middle Tennessee.”

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