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Deerfield Academy working on $52 million athletic facility

  • Designs for a proposed new ice rink at Deerfield Academy. Image contributed by Skanska USA. Contributed photo—Skanska USA

  • Design schematics of a proposed new ice rink at Deerfield Academy. Image contributed by Deerfield Academy. Contributed image—Deerfield Academy

  • Design schematics of a proposed new ice rink at Deerfield Academy. Image contributed by Deerfield Academy. Contributed image—Deerfield Academy

  • Design schematics of a proposed new ice rink at Deerfield Academy. Image contributed by Deerfield Academy. Contributed image—Deerfield Academy

  • Deerfield Academy administration building in Old Deerfield.

  • The Western Region Homeland Security Advisory Council and the FBI's Springfield office sponsored an active shooter symposium at the Hess Center for the Arts at Deerfield Academy on Wednesday.



For the Gazette
Tuesday, January 24, 2017

DEERFIELD — Deerfield Academy will soon break ground on a new, $52 million, three-story, 136,000-square-foot athletic center in place of the school’s hockey rink.

“It’ll be a great indoor winter facility,” said the school’s athletic director, Robertson Howe. “Currently, we do rent out our facilities. I think this would fall into line with what we practice.”

Demolition of the prep school’s existing rink will begin in March, and construction will start soon after, with everything scheduled for completion by fall 2018. Howe said the project will be paid for entirely by private donations.

A Jan. 28, 2015 article published in the school’s student-run newspaper, The Deerfield Scroll, reported that “a lead donor, who will stay anonymous, has contributed a substantial amount of the capital required for the field house and rink.”

According to a news statement from Skanska USA, the Boston construction group in charge of the project, the athletic center will include a new ice rink with seating for more than 400 people, “a Zamboni room, new mechanical spaces, locker rooms, sports offices, a crew tank room, a tennis court ... an elevated jogging track and group exercise rooms.”

“Skanska will also perform substantial site work and landscaping around the new complex including deep excavations, shoring and tieback systems, underpinning, and the creation of a new entry courtyard between Albany Road and the new facility,” the statement continued, identifying the project’s architect as Sasaki Associates.

Skanska signed a contract with the prep school earlier this month.

Based on designs posted on Deerfield Academy’s website, the facility will house a 20,800-square-foot field house on the top floor, with two batting cages, a “lacrosse throwing wall,” and a “puck shooting room, skate sharpening room, trainers room and hockey work room.” Elsewhere in the facility, there will be a golf simulation room, a lounge, and meeting rooms.

The Construction Index, a resource organization, reports that the locker rooms, wrestling room and circulation spaces will also be renovated, and a new boiler room, chiller plant and a generator for campus emergency power will be installed.

The athletic facility will be built in the footprint of the prep school’s nearly 30-year-old rink, which Howe described as “NHL size.”

Because of the project’s expansive scope, which Howe said has been pending in the school’s master plan for years, it required oversight from the Environmental Protection Agency.

While the project was planned, Thelma Murphy, acting chief of the service’s Grants, Tribal, Community and Municipal Assistance Branch in Boston, said, “any land disturbance of that size requires an EPA construction general permit. EPA’s involvement in the project is limited to any subsurface stormwater controls associated with the proposed project.”

A few logistical concerns also had to be addressed before the project could move forward. The school held private meetings last year looking into retention of stormwater runnoff and the potential of Native American historical sites on the property.

Working with the town’s Historical Commission and per state regulations, the school hired the UMass Archaeological Services to investigate the property. Following archaeological digs conducted by the service, John Nove, chairman of the Historical Commission, said no evidence of significant Native American sites were found.

Nove said the land on which the facility will be built was initially disturbed when the previous rink was built. He noted that a full report from UMass Archaeological Services’ on the findings will be released in the spring.

You can reach Andy Castillo

at: acastillo@recorder.com

or 413-772-0261, ext. 263

On Twitter: @AndyCCastillo