After 18 months of construction and remodeling, Whitman’s Sherwood Athletic Center is set to open Aug. 28. The long-planned, $15-million renovation upgrades the interior and exterior of the facility and adds a multipurpose gymnasium.
Among improvements made:
- Conversion of the former swimming pool into a multipurpose gymnasium
- Addition of team-room space and locker facilities
- Larger training room
- Addition of batting cages and golf nets
- Remodeled, redesigned Hall of Fame foyer
- Enlarged and increased office space for coaches and staff
- Energy-efficient components, including skylights
- Complete exterior renovation, covering the concrete with brick
- Totally new indoor climbing wall
“The completion of the Sherwood Center renovation, following the recent addition of the Baker Ferguson Fitness Center, significantly increases the quality of our campus athletic facilities. Whitman students now have access to remarkable facilities to engage in fitness and conditioning as well as to participate in varsity, club and intramural sports.” said President George Bridges. “Students with whom I’ve spoken are enthusiastic about the Sherwood Center and the opportunities it offers them and the entire campus.”
Dean Snider, director of athletics, says “the advantages of the renovation all point to enhancing experiences of student-athletes, intramural participants, coaches and student recruits. I thank the members of the Sherwood Trust and all our donors for their generous and visionary support of our efforts and for the role athletics play in the Whitman experience.”
The staff and coaches moved into the building during the last week in July, having worked in temporary campus quarters since construction began.
“The building is magnificent,” Snider said. “Our contractor, Opp and Seibold, and all the workers have done a tremendous job. We appreciate their pursuit of excellence in construction; they have created a masterpiece of a facility that matches our desire for excellence in athletics and recreation.”
Snider is particularly pleased with the Hall of Fame foyer. “It is a beautiful tribute to our alumni athletes, and it makes an excellent first impression to recruits and their families.”
Among the many advantages of the renovation, coaches will have space in their offices to meet with prospects, something that was not possible before. The new training room is much larger and will allow better prevention of and care for injuries. The addition of locker facilities and team-room space has been on the top of the student wish-list.
The new multipurpose gym enables multiple teams to practice concurrently and provides more time and available space for club and intramural programming. Having a second gym also enables Whitman to host tournaments and schedule camps and clinics, which could help draw more student-athlete recruits.
Skylights in the roof of the new gym light the space naturally, requiring less energy use. The new brick exterior not only makes the appearance of Sherwood more consistent with other buildings on campus, but it also adds to energy efficiency – layers of insulation were added between the brick façade and the existing concrete walls.
The new, climate-controlled, indoor climbing wall, managed through Whitman’s Outdoor Program (OP), is higher and wider, and it offers a greater variety of routes and climb types. Brien Sheedy, OP director and mountain climber who himself has scaled the Seven Summits, helped design the facility. He rates it as one of the most innovative walls in the nation and believes there is something in it for all levels of climbing and climbing instruction.
Sherwood Center will be totally ready for operation on Aug. 28, in plenty of time for the start of the 2009 fall semester Tuesday, Sept. 1.