On October 10, the new Athletics Wing and the Hall of Fame were officially dedicated, heralding a new era in the history of Winchester Thurston athletics. Led by a bagpipe procession, the greater WT community gathered in recognition of the growth and profound impact of athletics at WT.
The renovated Athletics Wing is a gleaming, bright complex featuring the Bears Hall of Fame reception and celebration space; new athletics and physical education offices; a new fitness center, 75% larger than the original; spacious and secure locker rooms replete with extra wide lockers; an equipped athletic trainer’s area with a whirlpool and ice machine; increased, efficient storage space; and water bottle filling stations.
The $2 million project has energy-efficiency in mind. Investments include new high efficiency boilers that serve the entire Main Building, LED lighting, new insulation and sealing, and water saving devices, all of which are projected to yield approximately $40,000 annually in energy savings. Even the demolition was cost-saving and green, with dumpsters of metal debris shipped off for recycling, and concrete debris sent to re-purposing facilities.
“With the expansion and improvement of this space, the school is taking a great leap forward, upgrading and ‘greening’ a highly visible, well used facility that had not kept up with the remarkable strides we have made in sports,” remarks Head of School Gary Niels.
Indeed, the athletics program that began with physical education classes in the early 1900s and grew into a vibrant intramural program a half-century later now fields sports champions on a regular basis. In the last seven years alone – since the new Upper School building enabled the enrollment of more Upper School students than ever before, and the sloping, muddy lot serving as WT’s athletics field was transformed into the all-weather, state-of-the-art Garland Field – WT’s athletics record includes 52 WPIAL individual championship qualifiers, 49 medals earned by WT Crew, 28 PIAA individual championship qualifiers, 27 WPIAL playoff appearances, five WPIAL champions, five PIAA appearances in state championships, four team section champions, two PIFA team championships, and one WPSLA championship.
“I am so glad that we now have a facility that supports the kids’ hard work and showcases their success,” notes Kevin Miller, Athletic Director. “I am very proud to be part of a school that celebrates its students in this way.”