Ground has broken for the Watkins Field House, set to open in spring 2016. This new athletic facility is named in recognition of the lead gift made by the E. G. Watkins Family Foundation. Trustee Emeritus Edward G. Watkins ’56 is a long-time leader and benefactor whose commitment continues to transform the Academy.
Construction on the $12 million facility began in late March with the clearing of snow from the site. On April 16, a small groundbreaking ceremony was held to mark the official start of the project. We anticipate the building will open next spring, assuming there are no construction delays.
The new facility will be constructed along Pleasant Street between the baseball field and the Joseph R. Curry Academic Center and will echo the design of Cushing’s historic Main Building and other nearby buildings. Together, these buildings will enclose a classic campus quadrangle in which students and community members can gather and socialize, making the new building more than simply an athletic space.
The gymnasium space will include one college regulation court that will run the length of the building. Two more courts—both high school regulation—will run perpendicular to that court. These courts will allow for more court time for both teams and individual students, enabling the Academy to provide more practice time for indoor sports. The fitness center will be more flexible and more than double the size of our current fitness area. It will have space for weight and strength training, as well as two rooms for group exercise. In addition to the athletic spaces, the new facility will feature a well-appointed lobby on the main floor and a three-story entry tower that will help commemorate Cushing’s proud athletics history.
The E. G. Watkins Family Foundation has made a $6 million matching lead gift honoring the Watkins Family. When Cushing raises $6 million in support of the Watkins Field House, the E.G. Watkins Family Foundation will make a donation of $6 million in honor of the Watkins Family in support of the project.
Members of the school’s Board of Trustees have committed $3 million to the project. In addition, the Academy is raising an additional $3 million from alumni and parents to complete the matching gift. There are a number of naming opportunities—from prominent inside spaces to bricks in the courtyard outside—that will allow donors to make a lasting impression on Cushing’s campus.
For more information on the facility, updates on its construction including a live webcam of the site, and to make a donation in support of its construction, please visit http://www.cushing.org/watkinsfieldhouse
For a gallery of images from the groundbreaking ceremony that may also be downloaded, please click here