Construction to Begin on Roberts Pavilion

Claremont McKenna College is wishing farewell to its Ducey Gymnasium, which is set to be dismantled beginning in March. The much larger Roberts Pavilion will take Ducey’s place, providing space for speakers and social gatherings while also expanding space and equipment for athletes. 

“I am and
forever will be extraordinarily fond of the building you see behind me,” Remy Pinson CM ’14 said Feb. 11 in a speech at the Roberts Pavilion groundbreaking ceremony, which was held in front of Ducey. “In fact, 57 years of student athletes have memories here that they will cherish forever.
In preparing to say goodbye to our beloved Ducey Gymnasium, let us rejoice in
knowing that the future generations of students will, as we did with Ducey, get
to marvel at the subtleties of its successor, Roberts Pavilion.”

Although there has been talk about renovating and expanding the gym for over 25 years, it was not until six years ago that CMC began meeting with architects and developing ideas for a new facility. In December 2012, George Roberts CM ’66 announced his unrestricted gift of $55 million to the school, which is being used to fund the project. 

“It’s about time,” said Mike Sutton CM ’76, CMC director of physical education and athletics. “We have talked about this, we have hoped about this, and we have wished and dreamed, and finally we got the support to actually get it built.”

The pavilion is designed to be 132,000 square feet, about 2.5 times larger
than the current facility. The main entry will feature a two-story lobby built with social gatherings in mind. 

The fitness center will be 8,000 square feet, quadrupling
the size of the current Ducey fitness center, and will provide a recreational court almost as big as the existing Ducey court. There will also be two
kinds of fitness studios for classes.

“In envisioning this, we had to ask, ‘How do we address the needs of the varsity programs, volleyball, basketball,
the indoor sports?'” Sutton said. “We have done a good job with the outdoor sports, but with
the increase of staff and increase in physical education programing, the
recreational needs, the fitness needs, how do we really address that in a way
that will not only assert what we can envision today, but in 50 years down
the line, too?”

At the heart of the Pavilion, there
will be a multipurpose arena with enough space for 2,000 people. 

“That’s
pretty exciting,” Katie Kuosman CM ’17 said. “I played basketball in high school so I know how fun it can be
when you have that kind of environment, that kind of support, get it really
loud and enthusiastic.”

Sutton said that the pavilion will help solve the problem of finding space for large
events on the campuses. The largest building on CMC’s campus is McKenna Auditorium, which fits 500 people, and the only available place to accommodate a large audience at the 5Cs is Bridges Auditorium at Pomona College.

“We have just outgrown [the Ducey] facility,” Sutton said. “With the Roberts Pavilion, all the activities we wanted to say yes to that we
haven’t been able to accommodate we will soon be able to. We will have a place
that can really be welcoming to the entire community.”

The Roberts Pavilion is expected to be completed and ready to use in fall 2016.

“Am I sad that I wont be able to
use the Roberts Pavilion?” Adam Hilborn CM ’16 said. “I am sad, but I am realistic enough to know that
construction does happen and there has to be some group of people that can’t use
it, and it just happens to be me.”

During construction, CMC athletics will relocate to gym space at the other colleges. Pomona’s Rains Center and Harvey Mudd College’s Linde Activities Center will help indoor sports teams such as the volleyball and basketball teams by allotting game and practice time for them. The interim weight room, training room, and locker rooms have been relocated to CMC’s old tennis courts, while the fitness equipment has been moved to the Emett Student Center, next to the Hub. 

“I think that you have to give up a
little bit to have a better end result,” Marcellus Demer CM ’16 said. “So although we are giving up our
current gym for an intermediate gym, it’s about the future of CMC and CMC as a
whole community.”

“When young people come to look at
the colleges out here, it is just going to be another reason to choose
Claremont, or any of the other schools,” Sutton said. “It gives us another great asset in
Claremont.” 

Students can say goodbye to Ducey Gymnasium on Feb. 19 at the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men’s basketball game against Redlands University, and
at the women’s basketball game on Feb. 20.

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