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Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University

Sound Program, Sound Facility

W&L's New Indoor Athletics and Recreation Complex

A Sound Mind in a Sound Body

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.

A Sound Athletic Program in a Sound Facility

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

  • More and better courts. A total of four courts — including a renovated court in Doremus Gym — will for the first time meet today's competition standards, and allow W&L to host NCAA playoffs in basketball and volleyball. In addition, the added courts will meet the demand for court time, which currently constrains team practices and P.E. and recreational programming during prime evening hours.
  • Redesigned and improved coaches' offices. As W&L's athletic program has grown through the years, spaces within Doremus have been divided and partitioned multiple times to accommodate more offices. The renovation will allow for a more intentional and appropriate redesign of the coaches' offices.
  • Improved sports medicine facilities. As team and recreational participation has grown, W&L's sports medicine facility has been challenged to serve a larger number of students. The redesigned sports medicine space will better accommodate today's practice of sports medicine, and an increasing emphasis on preventive care.
  • A relocated and expanded wrestling room. The wrestling room will be relocated and resized to enhance W&L's revitalized wrestling program and to accommodate competition-sized mats.
  • Racquetball and squash courts. Racquetball and particularly squash have had a resurgence in popularity at W&L, both recreationally and as P.E. courses. The new complex will include two racquetball courts and three squash courts to accommodate the increasing demand for court time.
  • A dedicated space for W&L's Athletic Hall of Fame. This showcase space will highlight the history of W&L's athletic tradition and will be appropriate for special events and visits with prospective student-athletes.
  • Additional locker room space. For men's and women's teams, visiting teams and officials, and P.E. and recreation programs.
  • Infrastructure upgrades. Doremus Gym and the new facility on the Warner Center site will be built to today's standards for safety, accessibility, functionality and comfort. A notable improvement in this category will be the addition of central air to the entire complex.

A Call to Commit

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.