MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Over the past several months, cranes and excavating equipment have given way to roofers and electricians as the College's new field house takes shape at the southern end of campus. The 110,000-square-foot structure is scheduled for completion by mid-January 2015.
The field house will feature a six-lane, 200-meter indoor track with a 60-meter straightaway for sprints, plus dedicated areas outside the oval for all jumping and throwing events. It replaces the former structure that housed a 180-meter, four-lane track, which surrounded an area for field events.
The previous indoor facility was not up to the standard needed to host indoor track meets, said Erin Quinn ’86, director of athletics. “The short length and tight turns created a greater risk of injury. The new facility will provide Middlebury with a safer track for our runners, and a safer environment for field events too.”
Quinn said that planning for the new facility was extensive. “We gave a great deal of thought to enhancing the practice experience of our track and field athletes,” he said, "and to meeting the needs of the entire college community."
Track and field will not be the only sport to make use of the new building now being erected on the site of the former Fletcher Field House and its successor, The Bubble.
With approximately 75,000 square feet of floor space devoted to athletics, Middlebury’s new field house will have more surface area than a football field. Artificial turf covering the floor inside the track will provide a safer and more realistic surface for any indoor practice including varsity soccer, lacrosse, baseball, and softball. Club sports and intramurals will also make extensive use of the facility.
The new field house will contain locker rooms, coaches’ offices, and two classrooms; space for treadmills, stationary bikes, and other cardio-fitness equipment; a lounge; storage space; and an elevator. The project will create a new entryway to the Peterson Family Athletic Complex, and add square footage and improved access to the sports medicine department.
An interactive Middlebury Athletics “history wall” will be a notable feature inside the field house. The interactive 16-foot long by 5-foot high display will enable visitors to explore the rich history of sports at Middlebury, whether by team, sport, era, or themes such as traditions, recreational sports, or community service.
The field house and squash center (which opened in October 2013) have been fully funded by gifts from alumni, parents, and other donors. The estimated final cost of both new structures will be $46,000,000. A ceremony in January will mark the official opening of the field house and recognize the donors who made it possible.