Tufts University is preparing to dedicate a new 42,000 square foot sports and fitness center that underscores the university’s commitment to healthy living for students, faculty and staff, as well as environmental sustainability.
Funded entirely by donations, the center will be officially dedicated on Oct. 22 when Tufts honors Steve Tisch, chairman of the New York Football Giants and academy award-winning film producer, for leading philanthropic efforts to enhance Tufts sports and fitness facilities. Tisch, a member of Tufts’ class of 1971, contributed $13 million in gifts, including a $3 million challenge to inspire other alumni and friends to contribute.
“As an institution, we value athletics and fitness,” said Tufts President Anthony P. Monaco. “Participation in sports teaches self-discipline, teamwork, strategy and sportsmanship. It also helps develop habits that can lead to a lifetime of better health, both physical and mental. Our entire community will benefit from this wonderful center made possible by the vision of Steve Tisch and other generous friends of Tufts.”
Tufts University has a strong tradition of celebrating health and wellness, from its health sciences schools to an annual marathon challenge that has trained hundreds to run in Boston’s famous race to a Personalized Performance program that offers one-on-one fitness training to university students and employees.
But over time, demand for sports and fitness space outstripped university resources and facilities on College Avenue in Medford were no longer adequate. Tufts had previously planned to renovate an existing, aged athletics building and add a new facility. In 2010, Tufts began working with Stanmar, Inc., on a new approach to the facility, with a different floor plan and entry concept in front of the old building. The resulting Steve Tisch Sports and Fitness Center offers greater efficiencies, superior space and significant cost savings compared with the original concept.
“I’m extremely pleased to be part of a project that is devoted to promoting the health and well-being of the Tufts community,” said Steve Tisch. “Through my years with the Giants, I understand the importance of activity and fitness for overall well-being. This project will ensure that students, faculty and staff have access to a state-of-the-art center, and will continue the conversation of health and well-being on campus.”
The center consolidates the historic Cousens Gymnasium, adjacent recreation spaces and the Gantcher Family Sports and Convocation Center, which were previously separated. Since its unofficial opening at the beginning of the fall 2012 semester, it has already become a favorite campus destination.
A three-story open atrium creates a communal entrance space that makes navigating the facility easy by offering views into various activity spaces. A 7,000-square-foot fitness room and multipurpose fitness studios offer students, faculty and staff treadmills, stationary bikes, weight training machines and free weights, with dedicated space for the personalized fitness training. Additional space includes team rooms, sports medicine suites, classrooms, offices and film and conference rooms.
The new center also honors Tufts’ commitment to sustainability. The building includes high-efficiency plumbing fixtures, heat recovery, demand ventilation, high-performance glazing and solar-shading devices on the windows, automatic light controls and plenty of natural light.
Across from the center is the new Nelson Gateway Garden. Its greenery and brick walkway provide an inviting path to playing fields and parking facilities.
In addition to Tufts’ senior leadership, trustees, advisors and donors, attendees at the Oct. 22 dedication will include Medford Mayor Michael McGlynn, State Representative Paul Donato, Medford City Councilor and Tufts parent Richard Caraviello, and nearby neighbors. The program will start at 4:30 PM.
Stanmar Inc., of Wayland, Mass., worked with the architectural firms of RGO Partnership, Newton, Mass., and DiMella Shaffer, Boston, to design and build the center. Project cost was $16.6 million.
- Information and photo from Tufts University