Snyder Athletic Center Construction Inconveniences Student-Athletes

Sarah Rigazio ’18, a member of Andover Field Hockey, has to leave ten minutes earlier than she did last year for her daily practices on the turf. Since the start of construction on the new Snyder Athletic Center in August, many athletes like Rigazio have had to alter their paths to practice each day, an adjustment that some view as an inconvenience.

The construction site lies on the hillside adjacent to the Phelps Stadium, preventing students from walking on the usual pathway to sports.

Rigazio said, “When they were doing construction, we had to walk around the tennis courts, and even around the baseball fields sometimes. All the way around the back around [Smoyer Field] and then towards the back entrance to the turf.”

In an interview with The Phillipian, field hockey goalie Olivia Keefe ’17 said, “Some of our balls go in [the construction site] and it’s funny to watch them roll away. At the beginning though, when it was windy, the dust would blow on our faces.”

However, many are excited about the new athletic center and are hopeful that the temporary inconvenience will be well worth the wait.

In an interview with The Phillipian, Leon Modeste, Director of Athletics and Instructor and Chair in Physical Education, said, “If it means we have to walk all the way around occasionally, that’s fine, because we know that this is really going to benefit our school for years and years to come,” said Modeste.

James Jusuf ’17, who runs Cross Country and Track, admitted that a new sports center would be a great improvement on the current practice center.

“I am very happy that we are getting a new indoor track facility, considering the current condition of the Cage. The Cage lacks adequate ventilation and I sometimes have trouble breathing,” said Jusuf.

The Snyder Athletic Center construction site.

In order to accommodate the student athletics schedule, construction managers have designed two new pathways around the site leading to the sporting fields. Pathway A, which detours around tennis courts, leads students to the Sorota Track and Smoyer Field, while Pathway B has controlled access gates that connect to the Ice Arena and Siberia Fields.

“I think the only big [problem] is that [students have] to walk all the way around. We haven’t had to cancel any games, we haven’t had to cancel any practices,” said Modeste.

“The people who park up at the rink and need to walk to the soccer venue, they have to walk around so that is probably inconvenient to them…but to the student and athletic coaches [the effects] are minimal…[the construction manager] has done a great job accommodating the need of the students and they worked so hard this summer so they could have this,” he continued.

Will Raphael ’18, a member of Andover Boys Soccer, noted that the construction had no severe impact on his team’s practice.

“The construction of the Snyder Center hasn’t impacted the team at all. Every day we go out to the field and play just as hard whether or not there is construction in the background,” he said.

Looking forward, as the construction transitions into the building stage, Modeste anticipates that more area will be available for student pathways. However, he mentioned that spring track teams will face the same inconveniences that fall sport athletes are experiencing now.

“Right now all the dirt has been out there, eventually it will get smaller as they finish all the foundations. They will start up putting steel, and then [the site] will compress. Eventually the mounds will go down, and we will get more area of [the site],” Modeste said.

Plans for the Snyder Center indicate that it will be over 100,000 square feet, and feature new basketball courts, an indoor track, and squash courts.

Managed by Erland Construction Inc., the construction is proceeding at a steady pace. After months of in-depth planning following the pledge of $15 million by Steve Snyder ’56, work is anticipated to be completed by December 2017.

The Snyder Athletic Center construction site.