The Board of Trustees has commenced Phase One of the Athletics Facilities Master Plan – the installation of a new field house and squash center. The installation will start the summer of 2016 and is scheduled to be completed during the winter of 2018. The projected is slated to cost 40 million dollars.
The 96,000-square-foot field house will replace the functions of the Case Memorial Cage and the Smith Center. It will be equipped with a 4-lane, 200-meter indoor track, 12 new squash courts, additional space to conduct Lifetime, Instructional and Fitness Education sports and three multi-purpose courts and space to provide indoor practice for outdoor sports. The new athletic complex aims to improve both the athletic curriculum at Andover and the experience of the visiting teams.
“We envision this building to be transformative due to its ability to be utilized by nearly every Andover sporting team in some way. The new, large space will allow for many diverse activities to occur at concurrent times, relieving congestion and scheduling issues in our current facility,” wrote Larry Muench, Director of Facilities, in an email to The Phillipian.
The new buildings will be located just north of Phelps Stadium—across from the varsity tennis courts.
Leon Modeste, Athletic Director, said, “The immediate thing that the field house will do will be to make it so that our teams can eat dinner at a regular hour. Right now with squash, basketball and swimming, kids are eating then going to sports. We want the entire athletic window to go from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. so that kids can eat and be done with sports and go on to the rest of their lives.”
Architects from Perkins+Will designed the new plans for the field house and squash center. Fundraising for the project has already started, taking the form of donations from alumni, friends and family. The Andover athletic facilities have not been renovated since 1979, when the Abbot Wing was installed, and the construction of these new athletic facilities is the first phase in a four-phase Athletics Master Plan that will take eight years to complete.
Phase Two will be the addition of a new swimming pool where the current Case Memorial Cage stands. Phase Three will be the construction of connector between the pool and the rest of the athletic complex, as well as a new performance gym for interscholastic games. Phase Four will be the renovation of the two current gyms and to expand the Rosenau Fitness Center.
Nancy Jeton, Special Assistant to the Head of School, and Jennifer Smith, Capital Project Manager, were appointed as Co-Coordinators of the Athletic Facilities Master Plan.
“A big question was posed by the Senior Administrative Council to the Athletic Council six years ago: what is the role of athletics in the Andover experience? How important are athletics? How do we give our kids the best environment for having a great athletic experience here?” said Jeton.
The idea for the Athletics Facilities Master Plan was first proposed by Head of School John Palfrey, after his investiture. The plan was then presented to the Board of Trustees during the winter of 2015 and was approved this spring.
“The end goal is to have a great athletic facility to serve all of our students – those invested in creating life habits and as well as those who aspire to be intercollegiate contestants. [The Athletics Facilities Master Plan] supports the strategic plan, especially the wellness and balance piece. It is one of the institutional imperatives of the strategic plan,” said Jeton.
According to the text of the Master Plan, the vision for the project is to provide “exercise for all students,” have “athletics complete by dinner,” “improve [the] athletic complex,” “enhance [the] history and tradition [of Borden Gym],” maintain “fiscal responsibility” and enable “sustainable planning.”
Aside from Jeton and Smith, those involved in the Athletics Facilities Master Planning Committee are Clyfe Beckwith, Instructor in Physics and Head Coach of Volleyball, Stephen Carter, Chief Operating and Financial Officer, Patrick Farrell, Dean of Faculty and Instructor in Math, Thomas Lockerby, Secretary of the Academy, Erin Strong, Instructor in Theatre and Dance, and Modeste. Additional contributors include Muench and Elizabeth Davis, Associate Director of Facilities and Capital Projects.