New England College Receives $5 Million Gift to Create a State-of-the-Art Athletic Complex
New Complex Design Features a Gymnasium, Fitness Center, Training Facilities, and Other Amenities.
New England College (NEC) today announced a $5 million anonymous pledged gift to support the design and construction of a new, 45,000-square-foot Athletic Complex on its Henniker campus. “This transformative gift, which has under discussion for quite some time, has already spurred other generous donors to consider additional five-, six-, and seven-figure contributions; major gifts which will help us reach our $12 million fundraising goal,” said NEC President Michele Perkins. Construction is slated to begin in the spring of 2020 with the Complex making its debut in time for the 2022-2023 academic year.
Designed by the award-winning architect Scott Simpson, an NEC Trustee who is contributing his services, the Athletic Complex along with the John Lyons Center (opened 2016)—which houses classrooms, offices, a café, and meeting and other shared spaces—and the Rosamond Page Putnam Center for the Performing Arts (opening January 2020), will complete NEC’s ambitious campus master plan.
As a long-time leader in competitive sports for men and women, athletics and fitness are an essential part of NEC’s mission.
“The new facilities will bolster our standing in NCAA Division III athletic competition and underscore our commitment to both scholar-athletes and personal fitness for the entire NEC community,” said Perkins. “This gift which will change our campus in ways that are real and long-lasting. We are most grateful to our donor for his vision, unwavering support, and generosity.”
NEC enrolled 356 varsity athletes in 2018 alone, with many more students taking part in club or recreational sports. At NEC, half of the school’s residential undergraduates participate in team sports. During the 2018-2019 academic year, NEC athletes earned four conference championships, a school record, in men’s baseball, women’s lacrosse, men’s lacrosse, and women’s basketball. Since 2016, NEC’s men’s lacrosse team has won four consecutive championship titles, another NEC record.
NEC athletes come from across the US and around the globe. Athletes not only excel in sports but are among the College’s most successful cohorts academically.
“The new Complex represents another step on the path to an expanded and enhanced program, making NEC more attractive to students of every background and experience,” said Director of Athletics, Dave DeCew. “With its state-of-the-art facilities, the Athletic Complex reflects the College’s commitment to our players and coaches and to the health and well-being of all of our students.”
Estimated to cost approximately $15 million, NEC plans to secure at least $7 million in additional gifts before moving to the final design stage of the Complex which will feature a new, 25,000- square-foot gymnasium complete with a regulation-size court for basketball, volleyball, and wrestling. With seating for up to 1,300 spectators, the gym will allow NEC to host NCAA-sanctioned tournaments and competitions.
Additionally, a new building adjacent to the Complex will provide offices and meeting rooms, along with a large, glass-enclosed lobby. This building will also house training and locker rooms and an expansive fitness center overlooking the Contoocook River.
A new façade will unify the Athletic Complex, making current facilities more functional and integrating them into the emerging campus aesthetic.
The $5 million gift, along with additional financial support for the Athletic Complex, will complement the College’s $40 million plus Bridge to the Future capital campaign which is slated to conclude in January. This campaign will support several of the College’s strategic priorities including new facilities, endowed and named scholarships, and the Opportunity Fund which provides scholarships and underwrites a variety of initiatives including study-abroad and other academic programming. Bridge to the Future marks the largest fundraising effort in the College’s 73-year history.