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The Dartmouth
April 14, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Initiative leads to new basketball courts

Recent improvements to outdoor athletic facilities at Dartmouth have proceeded despite numerous town hearings on the zoning and lighting of the new constructions.

Two full basketball courts have been converted from tennis courts and three basketball half-courts have been resurfaced. Construction is set to begin on a new tennis court to replace one of those lost to the new basketball courts.

The recent wave of improvements to outdoor recreational facilities has been made in connection with the Student Life Initiative, Dean of Student Life Holly Sateia said.

"There are a lot of students who come to Dartmouth and wonder, 'gee, where are the outdoor hoops?' One of the things students brought up [at meetings] was the lack of outdoor basketball courts," Sateia said.

Several students had remarked that existing outdoor half-courts were in such poor condition that they were unplayable, she said.

In response, several half-courts have recently been improved, including two at the River Cluster and one at the Choates.

For construction of the outdoor full courts, 22 potential sites were considered before a location outside Berry Sports Center was selected, Sateia said.

Increased student awareness of the improvements might allow them to benefit the Dartmouth community, according to Director of Facilities Planning Gordon DeWitt.

"I haven't seen anybody on [the courts] except once. I don't think it was generally known once they were finished that they were there. Maybe they weren't publicized enough," DeWitt said.

The cost of the project, including the converted basketball courts and planned tennis court outside Thompson Arena, will be $65,000, DeWitt said.

Some funding came from the office of President Wright and some from the budget of Facilities, Operations and Management, Sateia said.

"One of the things we were asked to do was to design some lighting so that they can be used after dark," DeWitt said.

However, some Hanover residents have not been enthusiastic about the new projects.

Dartmouth officials are set to meet with the Hanover Planning Board next Tuesday to request permission to install lights to for the new courts.

The Hanover Zoning Board, a separate group, has denied Dartmouth's request to build an additional tennis court near Thompson Arena because of its proximity to neighboring residents.

Next week, the Hanover Zoning Board will meet to reconsider that decision, Board member Steve Fowler said.

Several other improvements are in the works for recreational athletic facilities, according to Dartmouth officials.

Centerbrook Architects has asked for faculty and staff input about features they would like in an as-yet-unnamed athletic building currently in the planning stages.

"We've asked for an indoor ropes course as part of a proposal. We also want a dedicated group initiative course," said Brian Kunz, Assistant Director of Outdoor Programs.

Outdoor Programs also hopes for a "major" climbing wall climbing 60 feet tall, versus 20 feet of the current wall, Kunz said.

The Office of Student Life has funds set aside to enhance programming on campus and has hired Ruth Morgan '96 to coordinate programs such as the bus to the Dartmouth football game at Harvard and Casino Night, Sateia said.

"There are some really exciting things happening," she said.