A St. James sports center plans to expand thanks to the Smithtown Town Board approving a special exception request by its owners.

Town board members voted unanimously, 5-0, on May 5 to grant the petition to add a 6,300-square-foot steel building to The Sports Arena, operated by Long Island Sports Arena LLC, at 620 Middle Country Rd.

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Mark Mancini, the architect for the project, told the board at an April public hearing that the addition will house an indoor basketball court inside the roughly 42,000-square-foot existing building.

The sports arena also offers an indoor turf field for soccer, lacrosse and football practice, and a hockey rink, Mancini said.

"It offers sports in an indoor atmosphere so kids can play year-round and keep kids occupied doing the right thing," he said in an interview. "It's wonderful, because the more things that we can get for young people in this town, the better."

Town Councilwoman Lynne C. Nowick, who voted for the approval, said: "Any time we can create a venue where young people can keep busy in a healthy way, it's incumbent upon us to do that. Particularly, where that building is it doesn't infringe upon any residential home."