Smith College Admission Academics Student Life About Smith news Offices
News Release

January 27, 2004

Smith To Celebrate Opening Of New Fitness Center

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

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 and retailers.

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 fitness center.
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 area.

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 country.


Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Marti Hobbes
News Assistant
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174

Smith in the News

News Releases

Contact Us

DirectoryCalendarCampus MapVirtual TourContact UsSite A-Z