Let's Get Physical: New Athletic Facility

By Jessica Winum

Nestled between Walker Field House and the ninth fairway of the Vassar golf course, a new and as yet unnamed athletic facility opened for business this semester. The beautiful new space is already attracting hordes to its spiffy fitness room and, with a juice bar in an airy atrium, is well on its way to becoming an important social center on campus.

The 53,000-square-foot building includes a competition gymnasium with seating for 1,200 spectators, surrounded by an elevated indoor track with large windows that provide a lofty view of the ninth fairway; a 5,000-square-foot fitness center; exercise and multipurpose rooms; a weight room; administrative and faculty offices; a conference room; a multipurpose room that can be used for fitness classes, meetings, and social gatherings; a laundry and equipment distribution center; and four new locker rooms. An atrium entrance to the building serves as a social space, where people can buy snack and drink items, chat, and relax.

"The whole building was predicated on improving recreational opportunities as well as varsity athletic facilities," says Director of Athletics Andrew Jennings. "It gives us a lot more options in terms of space."

Construction began in September 1998 and was called for in a 1994 master plan for all of Vassar’s athletic facilities. Goals were threefold: to increase the quality of the athletic facilities for intercollegiate competition; to centralize the athletic facilities around sport seasons; and to improve the quantity and quality of recreational activities for everybody on campus. Since then, upgrades have been made to existing facilities such as Prentiss Field and Walker Field House.

Vassar students will now have six locations available for workouts, practice, and competition (in addition to the great outdoors of the campus): Kenyon, Prentiss Field, the Vassar Farm, Walker Field House, the Vassar tennis courts, and the new facility. And, of course, the golf course.