W&J Breaks Ground for New James David Ross Family Recreation Center

Created: November 3, 2015  |  Last Updated: October 4, 2021  |  Category:   |  Tagged: , ,

WASHINGTON, PA (Nov. 17, 2015) — Construction has begun at Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) for the James David Ross Family Recreation Center, a new recreation facility that will serve the entire W&J campus community.

The new recreation center will expand and improve the Henry Memorial Gymnasium, which has long been the home of athletics at W&J.

“This is a great pleasure not just for me but for the board, for my family, for people who have been around this project for a long time,” said David Ross '78, donor and namesake of the recreation center. “This facility, we believe, is going to be a great, great asset for the college.”

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Oct. 8 for the recreation center, which will feature almost 30,000 square feet of space, including three indoor track lanes, three indoor multi-sport courts, yoga and exercise rooms, batting cages, a pole-vault pen and several other improvements that will be part of later phases of the project.

The campaign will also fund improvements to U. Grant Miller Library, among other initiatives.

Ross, a current member of the W&J Board of Trustees and chairman of the Property, Building and Grounds Committee, is the founder of Atlantic Realty, one of largest privately owned real estate developers in the Washington, D.C. area. He has guided the construction and renovation of several W&J buildings, including Swanson Science Center, the renovation of Dieter-Porter Life Sciences Building, and Ross Memorial Park, also named for his family.

Ross played both football and baseball at W&J, and said he looks forward to seeing a new generation of Presidents make use of the recreation center.

“This building is going to be the centerpiece for the transformation of athletic facilities at W&J,” said W&J President Tori Haring-Smith, Ph.D. “It will serve a desperate need for students to have a place to play pick-up basketball, to run or walk when weather is inclement, to release their stress; in short, to ensure that all students develop strong bodies to complement their strong minds.”

Haring-Smith said about half of W&J’s incoming freshmen are recruited by coaches of the College’s 24 varsity sports. Although not all of those students choose to play a varsity sport, many choose to participate in club and intramural sports, or prefer to make recreation use of the College’s athletic facilities, bringing with them an appreciation for what is offered.

“In classrooms our students learn physics and history and art, and on our playing fields and on courts and in the pool, our students learn teamwork, strategy and leadership,” Haring-Smith said. “In other words, they learn the skills needed to put their classroom skills to work.”

The recreation center is the next project of An Uncommon Bond: The Campaign for Washington & Jefferson College, a $100 million campaign that will continue through June 2016. The Janet Swanson Tennis Center, which opened on Sept. 11, 2015, was the first completed project of the campaign.

“W&J athletics are experiencing great momentum right now,” said W&J Athletic Director Scott McGuinness. “W&J College is making a strong commitment to our students with additions to this campus. The Henry Memorial Center has played host to many memorable games and events. Thousands of intramurals and physical education classes have been conducted and the facility has served its purpose. Varsity athletics, intramurals and club sports have become such an integral part of campus … This rec center will boost programming for clubs, intramurals and everyday recreation.”


About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.

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