WPI today announced that the George F. and Sybil H. Fuller Foundation has supported the university's new Sports and Recreation Center with a gift of $1 million, which will make possible a striking glass-enclosed, light-filled main entrance for the building (see artist's rendering, at right) to be known as the George F. and Sybil H. Fuller Atrium. Construction of the 140,000-square-foot Sports and Recreation Center will begin just after WPI's May 15 Commencement and conclude in August 2012. The groundbreaking for the center will take place at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, May 14.
"The new Sports and Recreation Center will be an inspiring place for the WPI community to come together for camaraderie, competition, and celebration; and is essential to our ability to provide a world class learning and living environment for our campus community," said WPI President Dennis Berkey. "We are grateful to the Fuller Foundation for helping to make possible this vital new addition to our campus."
The facility, to be built into the hillside at the west end of the WPI Quadrangle, will house a four-court, 29,000-square-foot gymnasium circled by an elevated three-lane jogging track; a 25-meter pool for swimming and diving with seating for 250 spectators; a 14,000-square-foot fitness center with separate areas for physical education classes; three convertible squash and racquetball courts; an eight-person rowing tank; rooms for dance, yoga, and other recreational activities; multipurpose meeting rooms; well-equipped locker rooms; a training and rehabilitation suite with two hydrotherapy tanks; and offices for coaches, staff members, and students.
In addition to supporting the growing recreational and wellness interests of students and the needs of WPI's competitive varsity and club sports programs, the building will provide attractive space for large-scale events, including admissions open houses, career fairs, and national academic conferences. It will also have space dedicated to WPI's robotics program, including a spacious pit area for regional and national robotics competitions.
"The Fuller family is proud to continue its support for WPI by contributing to the Sports and Recreation Center," said Mark Fuller, chairman of the Fuller Foundation. "We have long admired WPI and recognize the value it brings to its students, to the Worcester community, and to society. This new center of excellence will enrich the campus community and serve as a powerful symbol of the spirit of innovation that marks every aspect of WPI's approach to education."
The spacious, multilevel Fuller Atrium will provide views of the Quadrangle and the campus to the east and the playing fields and Bancroft Hill to the west through large expanses of glass. Interior windows will look in on the gymnasium. It will be the first view visitors will have of the new center's interior, and is expected to be a featured stop on campus tours. The atrium will also be a popular spot for social events and a popular gathering place for the community.
"The spectacular Fuller Atrium will be a lasting reminder of the bond between the Fuller family and WPI," said Dexter Bailey, vice president for development and alumni relations. "This gift continues a legacy of enlightened philanthropy established by George F. and Sybil Fuller, who were deeply committed to WPI and its mission. George Fuller served for decades as a trustee, beginning in 1920, and the foundation he established has supported the university generously for so many years, starting with a gift in 1964 to establish and endow the George F. Fuller Professorship in Mechanical Engineering."
Bailey noted that Fuller Foundation's gifts have already transformed the WPI campus. Previous major gifts have supported the Fuller Residence Center, the Fuller Water Quality Laboratory, the George F. Fuller Laboratories, home to WPI's Computer Science Department and central computer resources, and the Fuller Chemistry Complex, a modern laboratory facility for general chemistry instruction. The foundation also supports annual scholarships to WPI for Worcester-area students.