Dillon Gym expansion project set to begin in summer 2022

Princeton predicts that a Dillon Gymnasium expansion project will begin in the summer of 2022 and end in the spring of 2025, university deputy spokesperson Michael Hotchkiss told the Daily Princetonian.

The university submitted formal plans to the Princeton Planning Council for their proposed project in August. According to a statement to the “Prince” from planning council coordinator Kerry Philip, the project was deemed “complete” by the council on September 25, meaning that the plans submitted were “acceptable” and can be scheduled for further consideration. thorough.

The next step in the review process will take place on Dec. 8 with the review of the Site Plan Review Advisory Board, according to Philip.

“I hope to put this on the Planning Council’s agenda in January,” Philip wrote in the statement.

For his part, Hotchkiss said the University has submitted plans for the project to the appropriate municipal office and “is awaiting confirmation of the timeline for council consideration of the project.”

“We expect the hearings to take place in the next few months,” Hotchkiss wrote.

An aerial view of the proposed renovation.
University facilities

The expansion project, designed with the goal of increasing accessibility, was first presented to the student body at an Undergraduate Student Government (USG) meeting in March, when the project leader Jarett Messina explained the university’s plans to expand the main fitness center on campus.

Hotchkiss told the “Prince” that the overall goal of the renovation and expansion project is to “provide the space and amenities necessary for campus recreation to continue to provide strong recreational opportunities for the campus community.” .

The renovation, according to Messina at the USG meeting, will involve the creation of a new entrance on Elm Drive, outdoor space and a new south pavilion to the south of the existing building, which will serve as additional space. for cardio workouts.

“The renovation will also create a new entrance and lobby accessible from the north side of the south wing,” said the project proposal, “and increase accessibility in most of the building with the inclusion of a new elevator that will serve all levels from the south side of the pool building to the main gym.

The existing car park near the tower of the building will be “repaved and fitted out to create a new pedestrian entrance square”, adds the proposal. Interior spaces will also be renovated, according to Messina at the USG meeting.

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An interior view of the New South Pavilion, which will serve as additional space for cardio workouts.
University facilities

The gymnasium, built in 1947, is among the last structures on campus built in the collegiate Gothic style. Aside from maintenance and interior renovations, the building remains “pretty much what it was when it was built,” according to the University.

In light of this distinction, the proposal emphasized that the University is “sensitive to the historical fabric of its entire campus” and its buildings.

The standard for the design of the project was “rehabilitation,” explained the proposal, which is defined by the Home Secretary as “repairs, modifications or additions [that preserve] the parts or features which convey its historical, cultural or architectural values.

Naomi Hess ’22 told the ‘Prince’ that as a student in a wheelchair she can’t wait to see how the renovation should make Dillon more accessible.

“Almost every time I had to go to the gym, I encountered problems with the elevator. It’s a very old elevator; it’s very small, ”she said. “I can’t even reach the button to call the elevator.”

In at least one case, the elevator did not reach ground level and Hess said she was forced to call a staff member to bring a ramp so she could access the elevator.

Hess is Associate Editor for The “Prince”.

The University plans to install an outdoor courtyard space as part of the expansion project.
University facilities

Other students have expressed their enthusiasm for the creation of a new entrance to the building from Elm Drive.

“The lack of additional entries at Dillon is a classic and almost endearing example of the constant logistical shortcomings of our institution, and I’m pleasantly shocked that they can actually fix this one,” said Nate Perlmeter ’22.

Dillon Gym is free and open to undergraduate and graduate students on campus and enrolled in the COVID-19 testing protocol – and alumni, faculty, staff, affiliates and other community members can purchase subscriptions to the establishment.

Dillon includes the Stephens Fitness Center and Dillon Pool, four full basketball courts, as well as administrative and college coaching offices. The building also hosts both men’s and women’s college wrestling and volleyball matches.

The renovation and expansion project will be led by Philadelphia-based architectural firm DIGSAU in conjunction with Toronto-based firm MJMA, Hotchkiss said. DIGSAU did not respond to an interview request in time for publication.

More project information and pictures are available on the facilities website.

Marie-Rose Sheinerman is a senior writer who has reported on COVID-19 policy, faculty controversy, allegations of sexual harassment, major donors, campus protests, and more. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @rosesheinerman. Previously, she was News and Articles Editor and is now involved in Content Strategy.

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