New athletic facility to be constructed at current site of Maroon Club Strength Center

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The new athletic facility will include a weight room that all Division I athletes at Lafayette may use. (Photo by Pierson White ’24)

Emma Chen, Assistant News Editor

A new athletic and lacrosse facility is slated to be constructed in the place of the current Maroon Club Strength Center. The new building will expand the strength and training center, as well as add two floors, one dedicated to the men’s lacrosse team and one dedicated to the women’s. The facility is still in its developmental stage, and there is no explicit deadline for when the building should be finished yet, according to Director of Athletics Sherryta Freeman. The bottom floor weight center will be available to all of the college’s Division I teams, expanding and improving the weight training center available to Lafayette athletes.

“This is a project that has been in the works for quite some time to essentially rebuild the Maroon Club and create a brand new sports performance center that’s going to benefit all student-athletes, as well as provide a new home for the men’s and women’s lacrosse programs,” Men’s Lacrosse Head Coach Patrick Meyers said.

Freeman also acknowledged the longstanding plans, noting the lacrosse program’s needs for a new home base and the outdatedness of the standing Maroon Club. This $10 million project was spearheaded by a lead gift to name the center from Andrew and Dina Wallach, both class of ’95.

“I think the building will be used for all student-athletes from a standpoint of the fuel zone and a brand new weight room and sports performance center, where everybody can benefit and become bigger, stronger, faster,” Meyers said. “We’re allowing our student-athletes to have the best possible situation at their fingertips.”

In addition to the strength center, there will be an entirely new fuel and nutrition zone that will allow athletes access to healthy food and drink. This fueling station will be available to all student-athletes.

“The fueling station is something that is a need for us to have that at one place,” Freeman added.

The need for a lacrosse facility has been present since the teams used to have their locker rooms at the Metzgar Athletic Complex. Having had their practices on Fisher Field, the team has been located in Kirby Sports Center with little space or facilities.

“This is such a huge opportunity for our program. Having this facility will be huge for us not just to form these relationships within our team, but really to have a home for our alumni to always come back to,” Women’s Lacrosse Head Coach Katie McConnell said. “I just think it speaks volume to where our school wants us to be and where our school wants our entire department to be.”

Meyers echoed this sentiment and noted the influence this building will have on the lacrosse programs in the future.

“I think it’s an incredible, transformational facility for all our student-athletes, as well as the men’s and the women’s lacrosse programs,” Meyers said. “And I think it puts us at the forefront of the Patriot League.”

Another aspect of the new facility that was noted was the advantage Lafayette athletics will gain when it comes to the recruitment of new athletes.

“I think it will help us from a recruiting standpoint to be able to expect to be able to show them our commitment in terms of being able to develop our student-athletes from a strength and conditioning and sports performance standpoint,” Freeman said.

Freeman added that while the building is under construction, athletes will not be without a strength and training center.

“I think we need to be extremely clear that we will not have a lack of space dedicated to our student-athletes for strength conditioning while the space is offline,” Freeman said. “We will certainly not break ground on anything until we have an adequate temporary space for them.”

McConnell is looking forward to the completion of the project.

“I’m so thankful for everybody involved in the project, and I think this is an awesome opportunity for our programs and for our department as a whole,” McConnell said. “I can’t wait for it to come to fruition, and I’m thankful to be a part of it and ready to watch it all come together.”

Correction 12/10/21: This article originally stated that the project was made possible by a $10 million donation by Andrew and Dina Wallach.