Since 2014, Deerfield Academy has planned the construction of a new athletic complex, which will include a field house and renovated hockey rink. Plans to improve the athletic complex were first presented to the Board of Trustees in April 2014 following a student survey that asked for opinions about which facilities were most in need of improvement. Students expressed concerns about the 23 year-old ice rink, as well as a lack of indoor facilities for spring and fall sports, as winter weather does not allow for outdoor practice.
“It became apparent that a field house and new hockey rink were necessary when over 400 students requested it at the top of their list,” stated Deerfield’s Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Keith Finan.
Working with the architecture firm Sasaki Associates, based in Watertown, Massachusetts, Deerfield designed the renovation project that will add 129,500 square feet of new construction to the current athletic complex at an estimated cost of $68 million.
This past summer, Sasaki Associates and a construction manager were brought on board to design the new facilities and begin planning its construction. After the 2016-2017 hockey season, the construction team will begin tearing down the current rink, affectionately known as “the barn,” and start rebuilding in March 2017. The new athletic complex will be home to a new hockey rink, a field house, and new boys and girls locker rooms. The boys locker room will have a partition which will divide the locker room in the winter so that it can be shared by varsity and junior varsity hockey. In the fall and spring, the partition will be raised for the larger varsity football and lacrosse teams.
“It’s pretty special to be a part of the group that closes out a long line of history.”
– Wiggle Kerbrat ’17
The facility will also include a field house, which is expected to open in the fall of 2018. The goal of this part of the building is to allow teams to practice all year regardless of the weather. A “cereal-bowl” track will be added above the indoor turf, as well as sprint tracks on the south side. An indoor tennis court will also be built next to the hockey rink, and 20-25 ergometers and tanks for rowing will be added. A golf simulator will be added to the bottom floor as well.
“We’ve known for a long time that we need greater indoor spaces to meet our growing program needs, and [the field house] is going to allow [for] a broad expansion of all co-curriculars,” said Athletic Director Bob Howe. He added, “[The Field House] is very multi-purpose. At any given time, you can see multiple events happening in this field.”
To begin the renovation, the construction company moved the power lines, which currently run under the stands in the hockey rink. It also moved the chillers and generators currently behind the swimming pool. The new rink is designed to be perpendicular to the position of the current hockey rink. Because of this new orientation, Finan mentioned that the construction workers will need to “dig into the hill on the backside of the current rink to meet the environmental laws.” The exterior from the north side will be made of wood and barn material. The south side will blend in with the brick exterior of the athletic building and the glass windows of the squash courts. Additionally, a shooting area with synthetic ice will be added for players to practice.
Deerfield’s hockey teams are in the midst of their last season in the Barn, and though the building’s transformation is bittersweet, the athletes are excited for the brand-new facilities. Boys varsity hockey captain Wiggle Kerbrat ’17 shared, “It’s pretty special to be a part of the group that closes out a long line of history, and it is a privilege to play in the same building that former college and NHL players have played in. It makes throwing on the jersey that much greater.” Ben Lovejoy ’03, Alex Killorn ’08, Antoine Laganiere ’09, and Kevin Roy ’11 are all Deerfield hockey alums that have gone on to play in the NHL.
Girls varsity hockey Coach Genevieve Pitt added, “The athletics complex will really consolidate our programs in a single location, offering abundant resources that foster strength, skill, health and wellness for all students, from varsity to recreational athletes.” Like the athletes, coaches, and fans that will use the future building, Pitt feels “extraordinarily fortunate to have a facility like this on our campus.”