The Davidsonian

Construction Projects Raise Questions from Students

New Construction and Spaces for Non-Athletes on Campus

Varun Maheshwari ’23 (He/Him), Co-Sports Editor

Davidson College’s campus is changing, and not in small ways. In September of 2021, the “Athletics Done Right” initiative was launched, announcing “facility plans include a new stadium adjacent to field hockey’s Carol Grotnes Belk Turf Field that will serve as the home for Davidson’s football and lacrosse programs; a new fieldhouse, featuring a premier sports performance center equipped to serve all 21 Division I teams, along with an athletic training room, locker rooms for football, lacrosse and field hockey; and an enhanced track and field complex. The stadium will feature a new continuous seating concourse, state-of-the-art videoboard and improved fan amenities.”

But many students are still left wondering, where are the opportunities and spaces for non-athletes? Why is there no rec center? Why are they taking away the golf course? I set out to find some long-awaited answers to these questions. The two leaders for Davidson’s physical changes are currently David Holthouser, Director of Facilities and Engineering, and Chris Clunie ‘06, Athletic Director. Together, they created the “Athletic Needs Assessment,” a mini-campus master plan similar to the one created in 2010 which included the creation of E. Craig Wall Jr Academic Center, Chidsey Fitness Center, and Harry L. Vance Athletic Center. This “needs assessment” outlined the creation of the aforementioned facilities with the deadline being autumn of 2025.

When asked about the lack of a recreation center, Holthouser replied, “If the students are wanting a rec center, it needs to be spoken for in the recipe for the new campus master plan. The College needs to and will embark on another long range master plan and that is where that needs to be injected. That’ll happen, that’ll be a part of the process.”

He stressed the importance of student input, saying that when the current master plan was formulated, student input stressed additional academic buildings, alternative social spaces, eating venues etc. giving birth to places such as Wall, Qdoba, and Summit Coffee Outpost. “This ingredient [rec center] will go into baking the cake [new campus master plan]. I can’t predict what the new campus master plan will definitely come up with. The items in the master plan have a lot of elements of push- pull to them. That input is very valuable to the process, so that we can then find solutions within that process,” affirmed Holthouser.

When asked about the par-3 golf course, Holthouser said, “Short term is that we will use the long fairway for grass parking for the interim. In the long term, it will be parking but to be clear, it is not a move we are making right now.” Clunie continued this sentiment saying, “ [It’s] likely going to go away. Probably going to preserve a portion of it for a pretty cool chip and putt area but the space will be needed to accommodate facility pieces, mainly traffic and parking.”

When asked about the rec center and the seemingly lack of opportunities for non- scholar athletes for athletics, Clunie replied, “If the rec center is not in a campus master plan, it needs to be put into a campus master plan for it to be done down the road. Down the line, I think so, anything is possible. I wanna continue to support as many opportunities for students as possible.” However, he followed up with a concrete future plan to convert the current athletic weight room underneath Richardson stadium bleachers into a potential center for wellness for non-athletes. “What I do know is that the weight room will turn into something, where students will have a say and input in what it turns into,” affirmed Clunie. He continued, “We don’t know [what it will look like], we want students to help us figure it out. Maybe it’s a Peloton area, or a wellness studio, or more equipment and we turn the Union weight room into something else […] There are all these different options we can utilize.”

It appears that the aforementioned concerns are not lost on the campus administration. In the short term, the weight room will be a new space for non-athletes and input will be needed and wanted for the new master plan in the future. Holthouser mentioned how the College moves in sweeping, decade-long arcs which often gives students a time disconnect in regards to facility desires, with future students enjoying current students’ efforts to better the College. In the meantime, students should continue to fight for changes to campus that they likely won’t see, but that will benefit future generations of Davidson students.

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