Plans for the upper level of the new athletic center, scheduled to open fall 2022. Contributed photo

WATERVILLE — Thomas College broke ground on a sports center June 17.

The center is scheduled to open the fall of 2022. A groundbreaking with more than 150 members of the community attended at the Kennebec Savings Turf Complex on campus.

The center is to be an 18,000-square-foot facility overlooking the Bernatchez and Smith fields.

Thomas College Athletic Director Chris Parsons noted that the event reflected the project. “This facility and our athletic program is all about community. Adding it will help meet a longstanding need at Thomas to centralize our athletic program and celebrate the role that athletics plays in our community. For many years, we have had coaches and athletic support systems located in various areas around campus because we lacked the space to come together. By pulling all our elements into one facility, including training space, locker rooms, Esports, and our coaches, we are really celebrating Thomas athletics and helping to build a better profile for all the program does.”

Thomas College in Waterville broke ground for its new sports center, scheduled to open fall 2022. Contributed photo

“The Thomas athletic experience helps our student athletes and Esports competitors grow and show their hearts,” said College President Laurie Lachance, according to a news release from the college. “They do so much more than play — they work hard, compete, lead, and respect and include others. After college, who wants those traits? Employers. Those are lifelong skills that set our graduates on a track for success.”

Alumnus Jordan Gibson underscored that idea, sharing that his sport management degree from Thomas helped him launch his career and begin a sports apparel company. “When I return to Thomas and see how campus is growing, I am incredibly proud of all the college has achieved.”

Current student-athlete Aubrey Schaeffer, a criminal justice major from Union and member of the women’s soccer team, encouraged incoming students in attendance to take advantage of getting involved on campus and sharing their school pride to enhance the sense of community.

The building will be constructed by the Sheridan Corporation of Fairfield with support from E.L. Vining, and was designed by SMRT Architects. Construction begins this summer.

The project is made possible because of the college’s successful “Guarantee the Future” fundraising campaign, which raised more than $30 million for the facility, scholarships, academic and student support programs and partnerships, and annual investments in the student experience.

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