Smith To Celebrate Opening Of New Fitness
Public Invited to Feb. 19 Keynote
Address and "Game Face" Exhibition
Editor's note: Reporters and photographers are welcome at the Feb. 19
Suzy Whaley event and the Feb. 20 ribbon-cutting. High-res digital photos
of the Olin Fitness Center are available by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. -- In a little more than a year, the space that once
served as no more than a bricked conduit between Scott and Ainsworth
gymnasiums on the Smith College campus has been replaced with a 4,800-square-foot,
glass-walled, architectural work of art filled with high-tech equipment
for the college community to keep physically fit.
The Olin Fitness Center, a $4-million facility, was designed by the
Boston-based firm of Leers Weinzapfel Associates to fit neatly within
that space. The spacious, high-ceilinged center features nearly 40 new
pieces of aerobic equipment, including treadmills, elliptical machines,
exercise cycles and rowing machines -- all featuring small personal television
screens -- plus 35 weight machines and an array of free weights and equipment.
The center, which replaced a considerably smaller and drabber workout
room in the basement of Scott Gymnasium, has a capacity of 500 people
and features enough equipment for 100 people to exercise simultaneously.
At 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 19, in Ainsworth Gymnasium, LPGA professional
golfer Suzy Whaley will deliver the keynote address to kick off a two-day
inauguration of the fitness center. Her talk, "A Straight Shot to
Success," will discuss the role of sports in women's academic and
career success. The event is free and open to the public.
During her talk, selections from the acclaimed photo exhibition, "Game
Face: What Does a Female Athlete Look Like?" will be on display
in the Olin Center's pool mezzanine area. "Game Face" celebrates
women and sports and has been shown at venues around the country, including
the Smithsonian Institution and the NCAA Hall of Champions.
On Friday, Feb. 20, the Smith community will be invited to celebrate
the official opening of the Olin Fitness Center at a ribbon-cutting ceremony
at 4:30 p.m. in Scott Gym. President Carol T. Christ and Director of
Athletics Lynn Oberbillig will be among the speakers.
The center's inauguration is the culmination of Fitness February at
Smith College, a month-long series of events that promote health and
wellness among the college community.
During the day on Feb. 20, the college community will enjoy a Fitness,
Health and Wellness Fair leading up to the ribbon-cutting ceremony, with
participation by an array of local health- and fitness-related organizations
The Olin Fitness Center, which opened unofficially in January, was made
possible by a gift from the Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Foundation in
honor of Barbara Olin Taylor, a 1954 Smith graduate, and Judy Olin Higgins,
a 1958 Smith graduate. The gift was designated specifically for a new
Other sites on the Smith campus were considered for the construction of such
a facility, but none offered the proximity to the college's existing gymnasiums
and the convenience that the new center does. And though it required considerable
creativity by the architects and construction contractors to produce a large
workout facility that would abut Scott Gym (built in the 1920s on top of a
hill) on one side, and Ainsworth Gym (built in the 1970s at the bottom of the
hill) on the other, the resultant design is a functional and attractive building,
with expansive windowed walls, a large skylight, interesting structural angles
and a balconied floor overlooking the swimming pool and a mezzanine lounge
The keynote address by Suzy Whaley is sponsored by OppenheimerFunds,
Inc., one of the largest and best-known asset management companies in
the United States and a member of the MassMutual Financial Group. The "Game
Face" exhibition is sponsored by MassMutual. Support of the keynote
and the photo display reflect both companies' commitment to supporting
women's professional and personal endeavors.
Smith College is consistently ranked among the nation's foremost liberal
arts colleges. Enrolling 2,800 students from every state and 60 other
countries, Smith is the largest undergraduate women's college in the
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