Over the past several months, it has been exciting to see the Richard N. Berman Athletics Center materialize before our eyes. As you know, the center was set into motion by more than a hundred families who helped the School raise $8.4M toward the $9.6M needed for this phase of our campus plans. At this point, we enthusiastically invite each member of the AFS community to join us to complete the project together.
With some major steps forward in construction taking place next week, I write today with updates on what’s happening now and progress you can expect to see in the coming months. The Athletics Center construction has three major elements: the complete renovation and repurposing of the Hallowell Gym footprint, the construction of a new gymnasium with two full-size basketball courts, and a new lobby with a multipurpose room, gathering areas and a concession stand. This pivotal project will more than double the size of our former athletics facilities. Estimated to be completed in summer of 2019, we look forward to celebrating this accomplishment together at the start of the next school year.
The renovation of the Hallowell footprint has seen the most visible progress to date. The exterior has been clad in beautiful stone and brick, mirroring the stone exterior of the Faulkner Library. The interior of the original building was demolished over the summer and openings for a large student entrance and several windows were added to the original block construction. Ninety-five percent of the structure’s interior walls and doorways have been built and electric, HVAC and plumbing have been roughed in. We’ve seen windows installed in the past week and are watching the new roof overhang take shape. This section of the center will house a state-of-the-art fitness center with large windows facing the parking lot and the library, a student lobby opening onto the Faulkner Library quad, boys and girls locker rooms, the trainer’s facility, four team rooms, coaches’ facilities, athletics offices and bathrooms for the general public.
Over the next month or so, the large student entrance will be fully fabricated and installed. Once the building is enclosed and heated, interior construction can continue through the winter and a new roof will be added.
With the new gymnasium structure, recent months have focused on preparing the site with stormwater management installations, bringing the new site up to grade and compacting the pad, pouring concrete piers and footings and building up the block foundation for the gym addition.
The steel for the gym’s infrastructure arrived this week and is being assembled. Next week, a crane will arrive and raise the new gym’s steel skeleton, giving a dramatic view of the scale of the new building. It will be an exciting day on campus!
Foundations for the formal entrance, new lobby and multipurpose room will be laid and the new construction for that section will take place over the winter and early spring months. The lobby will be located between the renovated building and the new gym and will face the parking lot.
In a November meeting, our School Committee members enjoyed a hard-hat tour of the construction site. We walked the floor plan of the fitness center, locker rooms, team rooms and offices. Walking through the new building gave a sense of the sheer scale of the project and the transformative impact it will have as a new facility on our campus, a place not only for the next generation of our health, physical education and wellness programs, but also as a beautiful new gathering space for the AFS community, our Friends Schools League peers and our neighbors. It was exciting to envision.
Please keep your eyes open over the coming months as this long-planned and hoped for addition to our campus becomes a reality. And please join the community in your generous support of the Today and Tomorrowfundraising appeal, supporting both the Fund for AFS and the Now More Than Ever Campaign. Together — every family — we create the very special place that is AFS.
I wish you all the best for the holidays ahead and look forward to all that the New Year will bring.
All the best,
Head of School