Cheney Foundation Commits $300,000 for New College Athletics and Aquatics Center

July 31, 2014

Gift helps University of Puget Sound create an outstanding
facility for the campus and community

– The Ben B. Cheney Foundation has contributed $300,000 to support University of Puget Sound’s plan to build a modern and inspiring Athletics and Aquatics Center on campus.

The generous support brings the college closer to the $17.5 million goal that will help fund an upgrade and extension of Memorial Fieldhouse, including a new swimming pool and fitness center. At the end of June $13.9 million had been raised for the new center. The facility will serve hundreds of student-athletes, as well as campus and community members.

“This addition to campus will enable us to fulfill our mission of a providing a healthy and comprehensive living and learning experience for all of our students—intellectually, physically, and psychologically,” said President Ronald R. Thomas. “I am immensely grateful to have the Cheney family share our vision and support a facility that will provide recreation, fitness, competition, and even therapeutic opportunities for our campus and community.”           

The foundation made two separate $150,000 gifts over the fundraising period, the second of which qualifies for the dollar-for-dollar match pledged by a group of Puget Sound trustees in July 2013. The gifts also help drive ahead the college’s $125 million comprehensive campaign, One [of a Kind] The Campaign for University of Puget Sound, which supports students, faculty, and academic and residential life programs. Thanks to friends and supporters, the campaign has now reached $116.5 million and is within sight of its goal.

Since 2003 Puget Sound has been implementing the 20-year Tapestry of Learning Master Plan, which prepares the campus for students’ current and future academic and cocurricular needs. The Athletics and Aquatic Center is a vital part of this plan.

The new facility will reinforce the commitment to excellence that Logger athletics is known for,  and will provide a resource for intramural and club sports teams, campus members, alumni, and the visiting public, including local youth who attend the Little Logger and skill-based summer camps. The space will also serve academic programs, such as exercise science, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. The latter two of these provide health services to roughly 300 local residents each year.

“Our founder, Ben Cheney, loved nothing more than to stand cheering with friends at the ballpark, and he made sure that his legacy of growing young athletic talent and helping the community prosper lived on through the foundation,” said Brad Cheney ’82, executive director of the Ben B. Cheney

Foundation, and an alumnus and trustee emeritus of Puget Sound. “Puget Sound’s plan for a modern athletics center that will encourage students to excel and provide a healthful leisure outlet for campus and community members is an initiative clearly reflecting that legacy. We look forward to seeing the vision become a reality.”

The project will mean the addition of 39,000 square feet to the west of Memorial Fieldhouse (currently a parking lot), plus the renovation of 17,000 square feet within the field house and Pamplin Sports Center. New or upgraded facilities will include a fitness center, rowing ergometer room, climbing wall, training room, team meeting room, coaches’ offices, and a central juice bar to provide a relaxing social space. Extensive sky-lighting and three-story ceilings will enhance the spaces.

The aquatics center will include an eight-lane, 25-yard swimming pool, with areas for water polo, scuba diving, kayaking, swimming instruction, rehabilitation, and aqua therapy. The naturally lit pool area will replace Wallace Memorial Pool, built in 1957. The schedule for the project has yet to be determined.

The Ben B. Cheney Foundation has been a thoughtful and welcome supporter of Puget Sound. The family foundation earlier provided $250,000 toward Weyerhaeuser Hall, the college’s health sciences center, which opened in fall 2011.

The foundation makes grants in communities where the Cheney Lumber Company was active. Company founder Ben B. Cheney, an enthusiastic supporter of professional baseball and junior sports teams, established the foundation in 1955 to sustain the welfare and enrich the lives of local families.

Press photos of plans for the Athletics and Aquatics Center are available upon request.

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