Tag Archives: Bowers

Are You Excited About the Bowers Center for Sports, Fitness and Well Being Facility?

The new Bowers Center for Sports, Fitness and Well Being has been in progress since the groundbreaking ceremony held on February 2. According to President Carl J. Strikwerda, the new addition will be “the largest facility to be constructed on our campus since Leffler Chapel and Performance Center was added over 20 years ago.”


The new building is being built with the idea that it is for “every student, every day.” With the idea of the new edition to the college, Madeline Bender, who is a first-year student, commented on her views. She admitted she did not know much about the facility before the groundbreaking ceremony. She thinks it is a great idea because the current fitness center, the Body Shop, can become a little cramped, preventing her from going. “I think it will also be very valuable to all the athletic teams we have on campus,” Madeline said. She thinks she will use the facility once it is completed.


Dante Allen, a junior, will have graduated when the building is complete. He believes it is a waste of money and will not be a good addition. He explains that since Etown is not a Division 1 school, the money should be put towards academics. “I think the students are looking forward to it foolishly, but I would like to believe the faculty sees the problems with the new structure,” Dante said. He does not currently use the Body Shop and said that he would not use the building given the opportunity.


Dr. Kirsten Johnson, professor of communications, hopes that the new fitness center will be a critical focal point to possible incoming students. Johnson currently uses the Body Shop but is not happy with the facility. “I’m excited for it to open, to be able to use a state of the art facility that’s less dingy,” Johnson said. She feels the new facility will give her more opportunities to workout since the Body Shop is usually overcrowded.


In the email sent to the students by Strikwerda, the building will be, in total, 78,000 square feet. There will be room for the wellness and athletic programs that can use the new group fitness studios, wellness classrooms, spin studios, training treatment areas, and office spaces. There will also be a demonstration kitchen that can be used for health programs or courses.


For the athletic teams, there

Current Fitness Center

will be six team locker rooms, three courts and a 180-meter track. There will be no competitions held since the track is not to regulation. Instead, the building will be used for practice, strength and conditioning. “The price tag went up millions when we looked into expanding the track,” said Johnson.


The new building will not only be a fitness center but will also have a café and smoothie bar to offer healthier snacks to students. Hopefully, students will be attracted to the relaxing fire place located in the new living room. There will also be a fire pit outside.

Groundbreaking Ceremony for New Student Center

President Carl Strickwerda, the Bowers and the Board of Trustees at the groundbreaking.

President Carl Strickwerda and the Board of Trustees held the groundbreaking of the Bowers Center for Sports, Fitness, and Well-Being on Feb. 2 in the Jaywalk of the Thompson Gym.

Strickwerda announced the plans for the new student center on campus in his opening speech, stating that it is both the largest construction project and the largest financial and recreational contribution in Elizabethtown College’s history.

Much of the Elizabethtown community came out to the event in support of the project. In an email interview with Caroline Lalvani, director of the Elizabethtown Community and organizer of the event, she said that she was thrilled by the turnout for the event. Lalvani thought that the speakers clearly articulated their enthusiasm for the project. She stated that the event received much media attention and that people are now more aware of the design of and plans for the building.

“Overall, I think it was a wonderful event and hopefully it has sparked excitement in the current student body as well as future prospective students,” Lavlani wrote.

The center is named for alumni of the College Kenneth L. ’59 and Rosalie E. ’58 Bowers. They will contribute $5 million over time to the building of the center. At the ceremony, both spoke and expressed their excitement about the project. They are impressed with the construction and activity plans. As further thanks, they were presented with a commemorative golden shovel.

According to Marianne Calenda, Vice President for Student Life and the Dean of Students, the new center will convey a strong commitment to all aspects of wellbeing, encourage recreational program growth, foster healthy social activity and engage all students and faculty. The design is projected to be distinctive and “edgy” enough to compel students to visit. She stated that it is more than a fieldhouse recreational center and hopes that it will strengthen alumni relationships and encourage new partnerships.

Robert J. Dolan of the Board of Trustees said the college’s fundraising goal is currently $60 million and that the campaign is up to $49 million, not including a $2.5 million endowment to support the building in future years. There have been 209 donors, and the Class of 2018 is dedicating a fire pit that will be included outside of the building.

“I’m excited for the smoothie station that will be in the center,” first-year student Keri Edwards said.

Another student, first-year Janelle Barna, stated, “I am excited for a brand-new place to go and work out and spend time in. Now [the college] will be split up for workout centers.”

Outside, Strickwerda, the Bowers, the Trustees and even students ceremonially shoveled dirt from a pre-dug patch since the ground was frozen. After photo ops, Strickwerda gave one final thanks for everyone who is involved in the project.