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>  News Releases >   2005 >   June

Dartmouth athletics rejuvenated with new facilities

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 06/17/05 • Contact Susan Knapp (603) 646-3661

At its June meeting, the Dartmouth Board of Trustees took several actions to enhance the facilities serving Dartmouth's athletic program, including revising the design for renovations to Alumni Gymnasium, approving the replacement of the Memorial Field playing surface, and authorizing planning for a new competition soccer facility and a new varsity athletic building.

"These improvements to our athletic facilities are part of the College's strategic plan to serve the needs of the entire Dartmouth community," says Provost Barry Scherr. "We're creating valuable facilities that will meet the long-standing needs for recreational fitness and varsity athletics. There's no doubt that these facilities will be attractive to the members of the Dartmouth community, and to prospective students."

The actions are part of a long-term plan to upgrade the College's recreational and athletics infrastructure. Dartmouth has made significant improvements to its athletic facilities in the past six years with the addition of Scully-Fahey Field, Boss Tennis Center and Gordon Pavilion, Blackman Football Practice Fields, and the McLane Family Skiway Lodge, along with substantial renovations to the golf course, squash facilities and Leverone Fieldhouse. Construction is nearing completion on the Corey Ford Rugby Clubhouse.

The modified plan for Alumni Gymnasium, the 95-year-old centerpiece of the College's athletic complex, will feature a 14,000-square-foot recreational fitness center on the gym's upper level, more than three times the size of the current Kresge Fitness Center. The project will also provide eight new multi-use fitness spaces totaling 10,000 square feet for physical education classes, fitness instruction, club sport practices, and other recreational programs.

Work is already under way to install a dehumidification system for Karl Michael Pool, and will include an elevator, fire-safety systems, a new accessible entrance and improved offices for coaches and staff. The pool will reopen in October for varsity team use, and the entire gym project is scheduled for completion by February 2006.

The new soccer competition facility, which will provide a home for Dartmouth's nationally competitive men's and women's soccer teams, will include a top-quality natural grass playing surface, permanent seating for 1600 spectators, NCAA approved lighting, and other amenities. The project recently received a $4.5 million commitment from Stanley Smoyer '34 to name the field for Alden "Whitey" Burnham '46a, who coached two of Smoyer's sons. Burnham Field will be located in the vicinity of Dartmouth's Scully-Fahey field, within the area known as Chase Field.

The new varsity house facility will be located to the east of Memorial Field. The existing east stands will be replaced by steeper seating and a three-story building featuring a 9,300-square-foot varsity strength training center, a "smart classroom" and meeting rooms for the entire department, football locker facilities, and offices for football and several other sports. The overall capacity of the stadium will be reduced from about 20,000 to about 13,000.

The playing field will be replaced with the newest generation synthetic "infill" turf, which simulates grass but is far more durable and tolerates a wider variety of weather conditions.

"Dartmouth's commitment to a new varsity house demonstrates a strong investment in the College's intercollegiate sports," says to JoAnn "Josie" Harper, Director of Athletics and Recreation. "We had a serious need for more space to serve our 900 varsity student athletes. Our coaches do a great deal of teaching, and the new classrooms will make that even more effective. The facility will also create a terrific strength training environment for all our varsity teams. And for our football program in particular, the new locker room, offices, and stadium playing surface, in combination with the Blackman Practice Fields and renovated Leverone Fieldhouse, will provide a first-class set of facilities."

Planning for the Alumni Gymnasium and varsity house projects has been coordinated to maximize overall programmatic impact. For example, the inclusion of the varsity strength training center in the plans for the new varsity house frees up space in Alumni Gymnasium for a larger recreational fitness center than originally planned.

"I'm sure that these new and improved facilities will become showcase elements of the Dartmouth campus. We're enhancing the overall experience for our varsity athletes, and creating wonderful fitness resources for the entire Dartmouth community," says Harper.

Dartmouth has television (satellite uplink) and radio (ISDN) studios available for domestic and international live and taped interviews. For more information, call 603-646-3661 or see our Radio, Television capability webpage.

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