St. Andreans celebrate groundbreaking on the Sipprelle Field House
Posted May 12, 2010
On Sunday, May 9 at noon, students and faculty joined visiting parents, alumni and St. Andrew’s trustees on the sports fields for the groundbreaking ceremony for the Sipprelle Field House, a historic event in the story of St. Andrew’s. After a weekend of celebrating the arts at St. Andrew’s, the groundbreaking represented the beginning of a new era of athletic possibility and excellence at the School.
The Sipprelle Field House will be a state-of-the-art facility for indoor athletics, weight training and fitness. The facility will do for athletics at St. Andrew’s what the incredible O’Brien Arts Center has done for the arts, extending the horizons of the possible and affirming the School’s great commitment to sports and sportsmanship. Though St. Andrew’s had long been developing its vision of a field house, it was not until January that this vision was translated into a reality, thanks to transformational gifts from Scott ’81 and Tracy Sipprelle and Dwight ’76 and Susan Sipprelle. The Field House is anticipated to be completed for the 2011 - 2012 school year.
Headmaster Tad Roach spoke to the community about the significance of this historic event: “A moment such as this,” he said, “captures the spirit of that original intrepid group of trustees who gathered in 1929 to lay the cornerstone of Founders Hall.” Dwight Sipprelle then shared his reflections on the power of athletics, pointing out that the triumphs, the trials and the connections made on the sports field and in the gym remain some of the most vivid and powerful memories of his experience at the School.
Like their forbearers who laid the cornerstone of Founders Hall, today’s Board of Trustees, joined by Tad Roach and Dwight Sipprelle, put on their cardinal red construction hats, grabbed their red shovels, and broke ground for the Sipprelle Field House in a symbolic gesture of faith in his project and in the mission of St. Andrew’s.
Headmaster Roach's remarks on this historic occasion:
Daniel T. Roach, Jr. Remarks
Sipprelle Field House
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Thank you all for gathering today for this historic celebration and occasion, the groundbreaking ceremony for the Sipprelle Field House at St. Andrew’s.
A moment such as this captures the spirit and vision of that original intrepid group of trustees who gathered in 1929 to lay the cornerstone of Founders Hall. That ceremony expressed a faith and a hope and an expectation that St. Andrew’s main building would be an extraordinary setting for education of the mind, heart and spirit. Even as the beautiful stone building grew to its present stature and expanse, the vision was the same—the building would create a community, a group of students and teachers who sought to discover life, meaning and faith from the daily experience of life in school.
Our hopes and expectations for the Sipprelle Field House are just as ambitious and faithful. The building will welcome the full community, just as Founders Hall and the O’Brien Arts Building do. Here each year, seniors, their parents, faculty, staff and the student body will gather for Awards Night, the evening before graduation to reflect back on the accomplishments and contributions of a school year. And every time, St. Andrew’s holds a major educational, environmental conference or celebration for 500 to 1,000 people, the field house will be our venue.
Here every day, young men and women will work with one another to develop the skills and habits of mind and heart they will need for leadership in the 21st century: an ethic of dedication and hard work, a belief in the power of collaboration, teamwork, generosity and sacrifice for the good of the whole; a commitment to a life of fitness, strength and wellness. The building will do more than welcome volleyball in the fall, basketball teams in the winter—it will embrace the unique St. Andrew’s student athletic and student life creations: the indoor soccer league, the 3-on-3 basketball tournament, dorm, Form, faculty, staff and student competitions, dances and everything in between.
The building will challenge our athletes and teams to strive for excellence, to push through perceived limits and barriers. The field house will welcome the novice and the elite athlete alike, challenging each to develop in new and unprecedented ways.
The Sipprelle Field House connects to the St. Andrew’s campus through its natural pathways to the old gym, the O’Brien Arts Center, Amos, Founders and our student and faculty residences. The LEED gold certified building expresses and enacts St. Andrew’s commitment to exploring ways to honor and affirm our commitment to environmental sustainability in our beautiful natural environment.
The Sipprelle Field House will serve the school’s mission-directed connections with New Jersey SEEDS, SportsChallenge and Kay’s Kamp for Children with Cancer, providing remarkable opportunities for underserved and special students in the Mid-Atlantic area.
We are linked to Founders Hall today in another unique way, for as we planned this building with trustees, students, faculty, staff and our consultants and engineers, a deep and dramatic economic crisis threatened to make us turn away from a dream and a facility essential to our development as a great school. Through the leadership of Scott and Dwight Sipprelle, the Board of Trustees and other generous benefactors, the field house project dramatically stayed on track, and today, we stand ready to affirm you all and to affirm St. Andrew’s by breaking ground on this project. Our Founders expressed similar faith and courage as they launched St. Andrew’s in the midst of the Great Depression.
To our trustees and generous benefactors, we here at St. Andrew’s say, “Thank you,” today
Let us then resolve to use this building in the spirit for which it is intended: to work, play, practice and perform with the tenacity and strength of St. Andrew’s at its best.