College squash court project is wrapping up

MIDDLEBURY — Construction of Middlebury College’s new squash facility, the first project scheduled in a major upgrade to the college’s South Main Street athletics complex, will be complete by October for the fall squash season. Phase one of construction — initial site work — started in November 2012 and was completed in December 2012. Construction will resume when phase two of the squash project begins late this month. 

The other upgrades will include the construction of a new 100,000-square-foot field house adjacent to Kenyon Arena that will feature a six-lane, 200-meter track with eight 60-meter sprint lanes and areas for pole jumping, vaulting and throwing competitions; and within the track an artificial turf field suitable for all field sports. The new facility will be twice the size of the college’s current field house, “the Bubble,” which is 50,000 square feet, and will sit in the same footprint.

The college has budgeted a total of $46 million for the entire field house/squash facility project.

The nearly complete 18,000-square-foot squash facility — reduced from 19,700 square-feet in earlier plans — will have nine squash courts, compared to the current five courts in the Bubble. That increase will make scheduling practice for Middlebury’s men and women’s squash teams easier for the program’s coach.

“The biggest and most important impacts will be on the people who use the facility, specifically members of the squash team and/or other faculty, staff or students who play squash,” said Erin Quinn, Director of Athletics.

The new courts, which sit to the south of Kenyon, are designed in a way that will make coaching more efficient and improve the experience for spectators watching the games, as well as allow practices to be scheduled more easily.

“We will also be more likely to attract opposing teams to compete at Middlebury with a much nicer facility, and the nine courts as opposed to five,” Quinn added.

Like the college’s other athletics facilities, the new squash courts will be open to Middlebury College students, faculty and staff. Guests may use the facilities on a one-on-one basis if accompanied by a college ID card holder.

Project manager Mark Gleason said the squash facility was prioritized so that the squash team would not have to lose a season after the Bubble is removed from the field house.

Work on the new field house will begin in April and is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2014.

The $8 million squash facility was paid for entirely with project-specific donations, said Gleason. The college trustees have decided that the entire $46 million cost of this project will be raised through gifts. The college hopes donors will continue to make their regular gifts, plus provide an additional amount for the athletic upgrades.

According to the college website explaining the project, those who make gifts of $25,000 or more will get their names on a plaque. Donors who make team gifts of $100,000 or more will get to name an as-yet-unspecified space in the facility. Those who give $250,000 can name a squash court.

College officials have determined that they must have 65 percent of the funds necessary to build the facility in hand before they will begin building.

 

Editor's note: The print version of this story, in the Feb. 11 editon of the Addison Independent, erroneously stated that the new squash facility “should be completed in late February.” We regret the error.


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