Greenwich's Convent Of The Sacred Heart Breaks Ground For Athletic Facility

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Greenwich's Convent of the Sacred Heart holds a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday for a new athletic complex that is expected to be open in Sept. 2015. Pictured are some of the students at the all-girls school who attended the event.
Greenwich's Convent of the Sacred Heart holds a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday for a new athletic complex that is expected to be open in Sept. 2015. Pictured are some of the students at the all-girls school who attended the event. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Greenwich's Convent of the Sacred Heart holds a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday for a new athletic complex that is expected to be open in September 2015. The all-girls school also renamed its main building in honor of the late Nancy Salisbury.
Greenwich's Convent of the Sacred Heart holds a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday for a new athletic complex that is expected to be open in September 2015. The all-girls school also renamed its main building in honor of the late Nancy Salisbury. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
The Rev. Frank Winn, pastor of St. Paul's Church, blesses the groundbreaking of the new athletic center at Convent of the Sacred Heart School. The school renamed its main building Salisbury Hall in honor of Nancy Salisbury.
The Rev. Frank Winn, pastor of St. Paul's Church, blesses the groundbreaking of the new athletic center at Convent of the Sacred Heart School. The school renamed its main building Salisbury Hall in honor of Nancy Salisbury. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Convent of the Sacred Heart Head of School Pamela Juan Hayes and Assistant Head of School Michael Baber at the groundbreaking ceremony for a new athletic center. The school renamed its main building Salisbury Hall for the late Nancy Salisbury.
Convent of the Sacred Heart Head of School Pamela Juan Hayes and Assistant Head of School Michael Baber at the groundbreaking ceremony for a new athletic center. The school renamed its main building Salisbury Hall for the late Nancy Salisbury. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern

GREENWICH, Conn., -- Greenwich’s Convent of the Sacred Heart looked to the past and to the future as it renamed its main building in honor of a former head of school while holding a groundbreaking ceremony for a $25.5 million addition to its King Street campus.

The school community gathered Thursday in the front of the main building, which was renamed Salisbury Hall in honor of the late Nancy Salisbury, RCSJ, head of school from 1970 to 1980 and trustee from 1989 to 1995 and from 2000 to 2003.

The new athletic facility is driven by the need from the school’s many sports teams and by an increased student population, said Michael Baber, assistant head of school and director of advancement. 

“We have strong athletic programs, but we don’t always have the facilities to sustain and support them. We do a lot of driving the girls off campus for training, for fitness, for squash and for basketball because we have a large number of teams,” he said. “We are all vying for the same court space that was built in 1990 for 300 girls. Now it is 2014 and we have 740 girls for the same facility.”

The DuBois Gymnasium, which has been home to the school's indoor sports for 24 years, will be attached by an atrium to the new athletic facility, Baber said.

“We find more middle school girls are participating in sports both in school and out of school in numbers that are unprecedented,” he said. “We felt the call to make sure that our curriculum and facilities support all of that.”

The school has raised more than $15 million of the $25.5 million in 18 months, Baber said.

The athletic complex is expected to be open in September 2015. The new 35,600-square-foot complex will include two high school basketball courts, six international squash courts, a fitness room, a dance studio, a trainer’s suite, locker rooms and offices.

A new student dining room will be constructed that will expand the current dining area by more than 60 percent.
Kelly Stone, the school's director of athletics, welcomes the new athletic center and said it will expand the school’s athletic options.

“Right now, the structure dictates the program. Once the last brick is laid, the program will define itself,” she said.

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