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Facility Profile - March 2003

Building for the Next 50 Years

The Dr. Adrian Tinsley Center at Bridgewater State College
Bridgewater, Mass.

By Jenny E. Beeh


PHOTO COURTESY OF TOM CROKE
From the drawing board, this center was designed
to be multifunctional for the school.

Talk about growing pains. There was no doubt Bridgewater State College in Bridgewater, Mass., needed a new gym. Badly. The physical education (movement arts) and athletics and recreation departments all shared one 45-year-old gymnasium, which was constantly jammed with classes, athletic practices, intramural games, you name it. Scheduling was a logistics nightmare, sometimes with no free time from dawn to late night even for students to shoot a few hoops.

And no wonder: At the time when the old gym was built in 1957, the entire student body only numbered a thousand—today there are almost 600 movement arts majors alone. The student population has grown nine times over to 9,000 students, including 11 women's and 10 men's varsity teams.

"We had clearly outgrown our other facility," says John Harper, director of athletics and recreation. "It was time we had something roomier."

Roomier indeed. In September, the college dedicated its new Adrian Tinsley Center, an 84,000-square-foot, $16-million field house that is the new shared home to both the Department of Movement Arts, Health Promotion and Leisure Studies as well as the Department of Athletics and Recreation. The building features a 16,000-square-foot, maple-floor gymnasium for

PHOTO COURTESY OF TOM CROKE
basketball and volleyball (sanctioned for NCAA intercollegiate competition); seating for 1,000 spectators; a second gymnasium with a 16,000-square-foot composite floor for multipurpose use (two basketball courts or two volleyball courts or two tennis courts or six badminton courts and two batting cages); a 9,000-square-foot fitness center with more than 132 pieces of strength, cardio and stretching equipment; six general purpose classrooms; three specialized teaching labs; an 1/8-mile track; locker room facilities; lounge area; juice bar; conference room; and department offices.

"We got a lot more flexibility," Harper says, which was one of the new center's main goals from the start. "During the initial planning, we tried to get as broad and diverse input as possible. We knew this would be a 50-year building. This would be our only shot. It had to be multifunctional. It had to be as flexible as possible."

Besides the movement arts classes and the basketball and volleyball programs that now call the center home, the facility also will be a haven for outdoor teams to practice indoors when the weather's not cooperating—a luxury they did not usually have before. In the off-season, the baseball and softball teams will enjoy the multipurpose floor and pair of batting cages that drop from the ceiling. And, of course, all year-round, students and faculty members now have a great space to workout and recreate.

PHOTO COURTESY OF DAVID WILSON

The facility's obvious flexibility is also coupled with state-of-the-art features like those found in the two, 1,600-square-foot Movement Arts labs: the Exercise Physiology Lab and the Biomechanics Lab, which boast hydrostatic weighing tank, strength evaluation system, metabolic cart, stress-test system and ergometer. There is also an Athletic Training Lab.

All in all, the facility has brought a lot to Bridgewater.

"We didn't get everything we originally wanted when we started to design the building, but we sure are happy with what we have," Harper says. "It's a quality design built by a quality builder, and it has given the entire campus a new sense of pride and excitement."

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