If you walk into the Borden Memorial Gym, it is likely that you will find students playing pickup basketball, especially during the winter. However, as the weather becomes warmer, fewer students are inclined to play basketball indoors as many shift to playing Spikeball out on the Great Lawn. While Andover has basketball courts in both Borden and the Snyder Center, there are currently no outdoor courts. Izzy An ’24 and Nathan Bechard ’24 plan on changing that.
The two Lowers created an Abbot Grant Proposal for an outdoor court in the fall. This past winter, they were notified that their grant had been accepted, and the court would be built in the upcoming summer. The court is set to be built built in between the Phelps Stadium and Sorota Track. An recalled how she first came up with the idea to create outdoor courts.
“This project’s been going on for over a year now… When we were new freshmen coming into the school and looking for a place to play basketball in a time of Covid-19, all the gyms were closed. And we were incredibly surprised that [Andover] did not have an outdoor basketball court when they seemed to have every other facility. So we kind of both had this concern, and we were talking about it. And we decided to go to our advisors, and see if there’s something we could do about it. And we ended up getting recommended to the Abbot grant program,” said An.
An hopes that the basketball court can be used recreationally by students of all experience levels. She emphasized the importance of the court being a place to have fun and enjoy basketball outside.
“Our goal was to have this be a community court. So pretty much everyone can be using it. And although varsity players can be using it, we don’t imagine or plan for this to be varsity owning the spot. It should be a place for everybody to have fun, just have a pickup game. Doesn’t matter what level you’re at, just kind of enjoy the game of basketball,” said An.
Bechard echoed An’s sentiment, adding the possibility of student-faculty relations being strengthened through the court. Bechard also noted that faculty children may enjoy the spot for their own use as well.“[It can also be used] for faculty and their kids. That’s another big thing because I feel like the student faculty relationships in [Andover] are really good in the classroom, but it’d be nice to see some stuff out of the classroom. I know there’s a lot of faculty who like to play basketball, and it’d be really interesting to see faculty and students playing,” said Bechard.
Boys Varsity Basketball player Isaiah Harris ’24 shared his thoughts on the soon to be built outdoor court. He emphasized the popularity of basketball and the court will allow more to enjoy the sport.
“The additional outdoor basketball court is for sure going to be an amazing additional space to our campus. I know so many people that love to hoop, even if it’s just for the fun of it. Every single day there are people playing pickup and enjoying time with their friends. In my opinion, this court is a way everyone could build new connections, while still engaging in friendly competition. I can’t wait to see what the future holds,” said Harris.
According to Bechard, the total cost of construction amounted to nearly $53,000. He thanked the Abbot Grant Committee for its generosity and willingness to help with proposals both large and small.
“I think the biggest thing is coming to a school, having an idea, seeing a need, and then being able to go through this program to fulfill it is a really great resource that I think more students need to know about. It’s something that allows the students to really give back to the campus and it’s a great outlet for student feedback as well… I think, [our grant was] $52,700. [That’s] a lot, but they can range from $100 if you want to start a club, and I think that’s what’s really great about Abbot Grant proposals. If you have something that’s conceivable and is a good idea. they’ll find [the money] for you,” said Bechard.
The court will first open in a school-wide event that An and Bechard are planning for this upcoming fall. Bechard shared that students can expect to see tournaments and varsity players showcasing their skills on the new basketball court.
“We’re going to have a big opening event in the fall where we can have a tournament, maybe some varsity players showcasing the details that we figured out,” said Bechard.