The Andover community joined Blue Key Heads Friday afternoon for the Snyder Center’s grand opening. The facility contains twelve new squash courts, a 200-meter indoor track, four courts that can accommodate basketball and tennis, a training room, locker facilities, multipurpose rooms, and designated study spaces.
One of the main goals for the new facility is that it will serve as a community hub, drawing a broader student demographic than just athletes, as all students are invited to work and socialize in the lounge areas on both floors.
Saffron Agrawal ’21 said, “The Snyder Center is an amazing opportunity to practice track or squash while having an open space to study. It’s just a really great environment that encourages integrating sports and academics.”
Leon Modeste, Director of Athletics, says that the Snyder Center is a also very necessary upgrade as the old gymnasium made schedules hectic for many student athletes.
“What was happening is our athletes, especially in the Winter Term, were getting back to study at 8:30 p.m. or 9:00 p.m. because… the swimmers, the basketball players, the squash players were just jammed into a small space and schedule was [crazy],” said Modeste.
Rebecca Hession, director of Track and Field, says that the new track is more versatile to accommodate indoor and outdoor track seasons and allows space for more events.
“The whole team was working out in a way that in the cage it was really hard for the distance and sprinters and jumpers to all do workouts at the same time because the space was trickier. We didn’t have to modify anything to get the practice happening, it was so cool. We really put the facility to a test on the very first day of practice,” wrote Hession in an email to The Phillipian.
Alexandra LeBaron ’20 said, “I play for JV Squash team and it’s really nice for both the Varsity and JV to be practicing at the same time [in] these beautiful new courts.”
Modeste said that the school’s next athletic project will focus on the construction of a new swimming pool for use by varsity teams.
LeBaron said, “One of my good friends is on the water polo team and she was telling me how the pool in Borden is really shallow and they usually cannot host home matches, so I would say in a perfect world the new gym would have not only new squash courts and track and tennis courts but also include a new swimming pool as well as other facilities.”
Modeste said, “It’s beyond our wildest dreams. It really turned out very, very well. Of course, there’s a learning curve; we’re going to see how it’s utilized and stuff like that but everyone that walks in here, the first thing they do, their jaw drops.”
Will Raphael ’18, one of the Blue Key Heads leading the event, said in an interview with The Phillipian, “It was definitely the first step in the progress to better our athletic facilities… I’m going to be doing some running myself and I’m excited for that.