Progress Continues on Construction of New ‘Matchbox’

Progress Continues on Construction of New Matchbox
Vice President for Facilities and Services Stu Hain giving a tour of the construction.

The Matchbox, a new campus facility for athletics, wellness, and theater, is on track to be "substantially complete by the first day of classes," according to Vice President for Facilities and Services Stu Hain. This means that the building will be almost done from a construction standpoint, though it may take an additional few weeks for all the fitness equipment to be moved in and for the building to host the team workouts and theater classes that will define the new space.

The Matchbox facility will greatly enhance campus. A fitness center, featuring ultramodern equipment and space for sport-specific training, will benefit the College's athletics and wellness programs. New rehearsal space will provide a boost to the thriving theater program. And flexible event space will be available for lectures or group meetings.

Funding comes from a Matchbox Challenge. Lead donors will match, dollar for dollar, every donation the College receives in support of the Matchbox through next Oct. 1. The Challenge, expected to provide $5 million of the $5.3 million total projected cost, is built on two lead gifts, an anonymously given $1 million and $1.5 million from Salem Shuchman '84 and spouse Barbara Klock '86. The Challenge has intensified interest in the project and inspired a number of substantial gifts.

In early April, members of the Parents Council, which endorsed the Matchbox as a priority fundraising initiative at their fall meeting, toured the facility with Hain and saw the progress for themselves. Once the construction team encloses the top floor (anticipated to occur in early June) and the windows are installed, a significant portion of the work will be complete and, wet summer or not, work will continue on schedule.

Despite a rough winter and a number of weather-related delays, students returning to campus in the fall will be able to take advantage of the new facility early in the semester, and, added Hain, "the team is doing its best to do better than that." Once finished, the Matchbox will serve as an important gathering place.

"This beautiful new building will serve the College for many years to come," says President Rebecca Chopp. "It represents a major step forward for our community."