In 1972, Washington and Lee built the Warner Athletic Center connected to the historic Doremus Gymnasium. At that time W&L's undergraduate student body consisted of 1,400 men. All were required to meet a physical education requirement, and many played on one of W&L's 10 varsity sports teams.
More than 40 years later, the University's student body has grown to 1,850 undergraduates and an additional 425 law students. During any given year, a quarter of undergraduates compete on one of W&L's 24 intercollegiate teams — 12 for men and 12 for women. More than 1,700 students play on intramural sports teams. Indoor recreation activities — including group exercise classes and visits to the fitness center--are popular among students, faculty and staff. And, every student still completes four required physical education courses and a swim test.
With the renovation of Wilson Field in 2008, the facilities within W&L's Duchossois outdoor athletic complex are exemplary within Division III athletics. But the Doremus-Warner complex, home to W&L's indoor teams, coaching and teaching staff, and much of its P.E., recreational and intramural offerings, lags far behind.
The Warner Center is nearing the end of its useful life. Pressures on the building — structurally and programmatically — are great. Meanwhile, the historic Doremus Gymnasium is in need of upgrades to bring it in line with today's standards.
After much thought, and careful consideration of many options, the University's Board of Trustees has approved a plan for a renovated Doremus Gymnasium and a rebuilt, vastly improved, and more attractive facility on the site of the current Warner Center.
Doremus Gym will be sensitively renovated to retain all of its historic significance.
The connected Warner Center will be taken down to its foundation. A new facility will be rebuilt on the same site taking advantage of existing useful structural components. The exterior of the new building will be completely redesigned and dramatically improved.
The indoor pool will be moved to a separate natatorium on a site just to the northwest of Lewis Hall, the School of Law building.
This plan keeps athletics in the heart of W&L's campus, where they have always been. And, rebuilding on the Warner Center site using the existing building's structural foundations offers the best value of all the options considered.
The new Indoor Athletics and Recreation Facility will be possible only through the collective action of the W&L community.
The project is a major priority within W&L's $500 million fundraising effort, Honor Our Past, Build Our Future: The Campaign for Washington and Lee. The Board of Trustees is resolved to complete the project as soon as possible. But, as the board's policy requires, W&L will only begin construction once sufficient funds are committed.
W&L must raise $50 million in gifts and commitments for the project, prior to the end of the campaign on June 30, 2015. Commitments may be paid over five years.
Please contact Tres Mullis, Executive Director of University Development, at (540) 458-8165, to discuss how you can support this vital facility on W&L's campus.