The Houghton College Board of Trustees has given the go-ahead to begin construction on the third and final phase of a $26-million athletics complex. A groundbreaking ceremony is set for Friday, August 30, at 12:45 p.m. on the 107,000-square-foot field house that is expected to be completed in late spring 2014.
An initial gift of $12 million from Houghton alumna Kim (Kerr ’91) Pegula and her husband, Terry Pegula, owner of the Buffalo Sabres and Rochester Americans hockey teams, got the project off the ground early in 2012. Additional fundraising efforts and financing will cover the remainder of the project costs.
LeChase Construction of Rochester, N.Y., won the bid to construct the field house. Ken Gay of Keystone Associates of Binghamton, N.Y., is the lead architect.
Work on the three-phase Kerr-Pegula Athletics Complex began last summer as Burke Field received a new artificial turf surface, giving the college’s soccer, lacrosse, and field hockey programs an all-weather training and competition facility. The construction of baseball and softball stadiums is underway with expected completion dates of mid-August 2013.
The multipurpose field house will provide a practice and competition venue for the tennis and track and field programs, while offering indoor practice space for outdoor sports over the winter and during inclement weather. It will also serve as a hub for the entire campus. State-of-the-art fitness and weight training facilities, as well as the track and tennis courts will be open to all faculty, staff and students. The facility will also provide expanded opportunities for the college’s highly popular intramurals program.
From an academic perspective, the facility will allow for the expansion of activity courses offered through the Department of Physical and Health Education and the Department of Leisure Studies.
The facility will also serve as a spacious venue for guest speakers, concerts, dinners, and potentially the college commencement ceremonies. These non-athletics uses also present new opportunities to bring in groups and events from the surrounding communities of northern Allegany County and Western New York.
“We are excited about the potential this facility has to serve the campus community and beyond. It’s not just a venue for our athletics teams. It will make a difference in the academic and cultural programs of the college and it will enable us to host larger events that will attract more traffic to Houghton and the surrounding communities,” said H. “Skip” Lord, executive director of intercollegiate athletics. “There is real potential for economic impact.”
The Kerr-Pegula Athletics Complex will meet the many needs of the current athletic program and help accommodate the program’s future growth. As part of the college’s transition to NCAA Division III, Houghton added new sports teams to its athletics offerings, starting with baseball and softball last spring, men’s and women’s golf last fall, and men’s and women’s lacrosse this spring. Men’s and women’s tennis will begin play this fall.
Houghton College has developed a webpage to keep the public up-to-date on the project’s progress, including tentative timelines, construction photos and web cam, press releases, and more. Please visit: www.houghton.edu/news/Kerr-Pegula-Center.