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New center a good match with sustainability efforts

By Randy Frame and Amanda Whitbred


Matchbox couple Salem Shuchman ’84 and Barbara Klock ’86. Photo by Laurence Kesterson

One afternoon in November, Stuart Hain, vice president for facilities and services, described the construction work underway in the old squash courts facility as “unbuilding.” Instead of simply demolishing the outdated facility to make way for the new Matchbox center for wellness, fitness, and theater, a crew has been carefully disassembling the building this fall. “We’re taking everything apart in an effort to save all the materials we can possibly save,” says Hain.

Deconstructing the facility has allowed the College to salvage materials to reuse around campus (visitors to the President’s Office, for instance, can admire new radiator covers built from reclaimed wood). With the unbuilding now over, the building of the Matchbox center, adjacent to the Lamb Miller Field House, is underway.

The campus will be greatly enhanced by the addition of the new facility. A fitness center, featuring ultramodern equipment and space for sport-specific training, will improve the College’s athletics and wellness programs. The Matchbox will also provide space for the thriving theater program, including a new black box theater, and a flexible event space for lectures, student forums, and group meetings.

Says Board Chair Giles “Gil” Kemp ’72, “The Matchbox perfectly expresses many of the goals of our strategic plan. Its space is flexible, it will promote both wellness and intentional community, and it will be constructed with sustainability concerns at the forefront.” Construction is scheduled for completion by the time student-athletes arrive on campus in mid-August.

The Matchbox project not only includes careful attention to sustainability and a purposeful approach to minimize materials waste and save energy and funds but will make good use of the footprint of the old squash courts. Other measures will protect the Crum Creek from stormwater runoff, restore impervious surfaces to green space, and use technology to heat, cool, and light the building based on the time of day and current number of occupants.

The $2.5 million lead gift for the new center comes from a Matchbox Challenge. Lead donors will match, dollar for dollar, every donation the College receives in support of the Matchbox through Oct. 1. The Matchbox Challenge is expected to supply $5 million of the $5.3 million total projected cost. Since the Board of Managers announced, in September, two lead gifts to support the project, including an anonymously given $1 million and $1.5 million from Salem Shuchman ’84 and spouse Barbara Klock ’86, interest and support has intensified.

The Parents Council endorsed the Matchbox as a priority fundraising initiative at its fall meeting. According to Vice President for Development Karl Clauss, the project was met with “great enthusiasm and endorsement.” Since the fall meeting, Parents Council Chairs Michael and Maureen Bertuch, as well as former Chairs Vernon Drew and Leslie Aucoin, have made leadership commitments to the initiative. In addition, Sigco Inc., a glass-fabrication company of which David McElhinny ’75, P’17 is CEO, will donate all the glass for the project. Sigco’s donation of sustainably made glass will help defray a major cost for the new building, which will feature large glass windows with impressive views of the Crum Woods and campus.

As an example of the initiatives to be supported by the College’s comprehensive campaign, set to launch this year, the Matchbox sets the tone for future campus improvements. “This beautiful new building will serve the College for many years to come,” says President Rebecca Chopp. “It represents a major step forward for our community.”

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