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New Sports Complex opens for students

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Photo courtesy of Martin McGovern, Director of Communications and Media Relations

Photo courtesy of Martin McGovern, Director of Communications and Media Relations

By Sean Mason

It took over a year, but the $16 million renovation to the Sally Blair Ames Sports Complex (SPOCO) is finally complete.

This was the first major renovation to the SPOCO since it initially opened in 1988. Construction started in May 2014 and was completed on Aug. 11, 2015. The football team was the first Stonehill sports team to use the complex.

The additions are broken up into two categories: a two-story 50,000 square foot addition named after former president of the college Rev. Mark T. Cregan and a 25,000 square- foot renovation. The addition included a new storage room for equipment and laundry; new football, baseball, softball, women’s soccer, field hockey, and lacrosse locker rooms; a new athletic training area; a two-story recreational fitness space; a varsity strength and conditioning space; new varsity athletic offices; trophy cases displaying five Northeast-10 Presidents’ Cups; new athletic staff locker rooms; and an Athlete Study Lounge named after retired academic Richard Grant.

The renovations touched up the William C. Murphy ’63 military honors display; the group exercise room; two film viewing rooms; a multi-purpose room; the dance studio; the event space; the recreational sports staff offices; the football staff offices; the varsity coaches’ offices; the locker rooms for men’s soccer, women’s tennis, men’s and women’s track and field and cross-country; and the recreational fitness.

“The goal was to open by the 11th, but there wasn’t a definitive date. As long as it was open in time for the football team than it was okay,” Associate Vice President for Finance and Operations at Stonehill Craig Binney said. The Town of Easton granted a temporary ticket of occupancy (TCO) Aug. 10 to the SPOCO, allowing the facility to be used, Binney said.

Ten days later, the SPOCO officially opened when Easton granted the SPOCO a certificate of occupancy, Binney said.

Bond Construction and Sasaki Architects were in charge of the construction and architecture, respectively. Also, several Stonehill employees, including the staff of the SPOCO, helped work on the construction whenever they were needed. According to Binney, the Stonehill staff held weekly meetings from May 2014 until the completion of the project, to provide updates on how the project was coming along.

“The project went smoothly with just a few delays because of all the snow. Bond Construction and Sasaki Architects were great to work with,” Binney said.

Stonehill Development Associate Nicholas Howard said of the $16 million cost, $6.5 million came from fundraising.

Howard said 40 percent of that came from individuals related to Stonehill, such as parents, alumni, and friends of alumni.

“People gave back, and their gift will continue to give back for years to come,” Howard said.

The Yawkey Foundations gave a $2 million grant for the Lou Gorman Pavilion in the SPOCO. The Pavilion holds Gorman’s three World Series rings, his 1966 ring with the Orioles, his 2004 and 2007 ring with the Red Sox, his class ring from 1953, and his 1986 America League Championship ring.

Howard said the SPOCO is more than just a workout center; it is a piece of Stonehill history.

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