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College plans $15M expansion of Baker Sports Complex

Baker Sports addition

The expansion will add practice space and offices and provide a stunning new entrance facing the Baker parking lot.

By DAVID BORAKS
DavidsonNews.net

Davidson College plans to break ground as early as this spring on a $15 million expansion of its Baker Sports Complex, adding basketball practice courts, offices, a new ticket office and a new new main entrance for fans walking from town or the parking lot.

The addition, which will include studios and offices for the college’s growing dance program, could open as soon as Spring 2014, the college says. College officials say it will provide badly need new facilities and “alleviate scheduling burdens” on current space.

Davidson’s Design Review Board unanimously approved the new complex’s design and materials at its meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 16. The board raised no objections, but asked to see revised drawings for exterior railings and exterior lighting once they’re complete.

The new building will stretch south from the middle of the existing south side of the Baker Sports Complex, which faces the parking lot. It will have a gradually sloping lighted brick walkway from the corner of the site and staircases up to the second-level, where fans will enter for basketball, volleyball and other games. The new two-story entrance will feature glass and a curved flat roof of metal panels.

FUNDRAISING AHEAD

The college has been planning the facility for months, and the Davidson Athletic Foundation has quietly begun a campaign to raise the $15 million. Of that, $12 million would go for construction, $3 million for an endowment to pay for maintenance, said the foundation’s director, Annie Porges.

Exactly when work might begin will depend on when the college has obtained commitments for the full $15 million.

Besides solving space needs, the expansion also will help Davidson compete for top athletes, Ms. Porges said.

“It will help our recruiting efforts for our basketball and volleyball programs,” Ms. Porges said Friday. “The competition has gotten so tough.”

Davidson’s sports teams play in the NCAA’s top level, Division I. The basketball and volleyball programs share Belk Arena for both games and practice, so the extra practice gyms will help, the college said.

In an announcement, the college says:

This facility will have a direct impact on the Davidson student athlete experience — both varsity and otherwise — and will increase access to practice and training facilities. This expansion, in turn, will alleviate scheduling burdens as it relates to space in the Baker Sports Complex, resulting in a more balanced approach to athletics and academics.

The college said the extra space also will expand space for it dance program as well as club and intramural sports, all of which “add to the list of regular consumers of already overused spaces.”

Also in the plans: An expanded training room, a cardio/fitness room for students, a new ticket office, and new locker rooms, offices, team rooms, and film rooms for men’s and women’s basketball.

RELATED LINKS

See the center’s design, as submitted to the Davidson Design Review Board Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013. (PDF)

DavidsonWildcats.com, “Davidson Athletics: An Enhancement to the Baker Sports Complex”

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- who has written 1531 posts on Sports.

David Boraks is the founder and editor of Davidson News LLC, which started in 2006 as a neighborhood blog and evolved into a regional community news network. He is a print, magazine, web and radio journalist, with experience in every nook and cranny of the news world, covering everything from local news to Fortune 100 companies to technology to Asia. He lives on South Street in Davidson, in a house that was at the center of a 1914 murder case. Ask him and he'll tell you that story.

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