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Lafayette Is Constructing A New Sports Center

April 8, 1999

Lafayette College is constructing a 110,000-square-foot sports complex on campus that will significantly enhance the College's spirit of community and its facilities for a wide variety of athletic and recreational activities.

The complex will include a new, $24 million center for intramural and recreational sports attached to the Allan P. Kirby Field House. The field house itself is receiving a major facelift and interior renovations totalling an additional $2.5 million. The resulting complex will be called the Allan P. Kirby Sports Center. It is scheduled for completion this coming fall.

Major support is coming from the F. M. Kirby Foundation, Morristown, N.J., which has committed $20 million toward construction of the complex.

The new intramural/recreation center will include a three-court basketball gymnasium with an elevated jogging track. Motorized dividers will permit different activities to be accommodated simultaneously in the gym.

Other major facilities include six courts for squash and racquetball, a fitness room with a full complement of weight-training and cardiovascular-fitness equipment, two aerobic/multipurpose rooms, and a climbing wall. The center will also have shower and locker facilities, offices for coaches and administrative staff, and additional space for sports medicine.

The project is part of nearly $60 million in campus construction funded by the College's current $143 million fundraising campaign. A $25 million science complex and a $7 million residence hall are already under construction. To date the College has received more than $82 million in gifts and pledges in support of the Lafayette Leadership Campaign, which was announced on Oct. 24, 1997, and is scheduled to run through June 30, 2001.

Lafayette President Arthur J. Rothkopf said, "The Allan P. Kirby Sports Center will be a major addition to Lafayette's campus, in keeping with the scale and quality of the College's most prominent buildings. It will complement the College's academic programs and will serve an important need by providing a first-class, vital new focal point for activities that contribute to a healthy environment for living and learning.

"We are grateful, as always, to the members of the Kirby family for their dedication and support of Lafayette," Rothkopf continued.

More than 80 percent of Lafayette's 2,000 students currently participate in varsity athletics, club sports, intramurals, and/or recreational sports. Kirby Field House is the home of eight of Lafayette's 23 varsity sports, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's indoor track and field, coed fencing, men's and women's swimming and women's volleyball. The 25th anniversary of the opening of the field house was celebrated during the 1997-98 winter season.

Charles E. Hugel, chairman of the Lafayette Leadership Campaign, said, "In addition to encouraging healthy lifestyles, this outstanding sports complex will foster the spirit of community at Lafayette by encouraging and facilitating interaction among students, faculty and staff." Hugel, a 1951 Lafayette graduate and emeritus trustee, is the retired chairman of Asea Brown Boveri, Inc.

Warfel Construction Co. of Lancaster, Pa., is the general contractor for the project, which was designed by a team of two architectural firms, Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott of Boston and Cannon of Los Angeles. Cannon Engineers of Grand Isle, N.Y., is the engineering firm. Bovis Construction Corp. is the construction program manager on behalf of the College.