Mercersburg held a groundbreaking ceremony October 9 to mark the official start of construction on the Hale Field House, which is named in honor of Head of School Douglas Hale and will be located immediately to the north of Nolde Gymnasium on campus.
Speakers during the ceremony included Hale, Board of Regents President David Frantz ’60, Board President Emerita Denise Dupré ’76, and Board member and Daring to Lead
Campaign Co-Vice Chair Stacie Rice Lissette ’85 and her husband, Dylan, who are current parents.
Anticipated construction time is approximately 12 months on the $12 million, 64,000-square-foot facility, which will include a 200-meter, six-lane, competition-level indoor track with an infield for field events that can be converted to other competition and/or practice space.
“I am deeply touched by this incredibly thoughtful and kind gesture, and I am honored and grateful that this building will bear my name,” said Hale, who captained the basketball team as an undergraduate at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and is in his 19th and final year as Mercersburg's head of school. He is retiring at the close of the 2015–2016 academic year.
“This building, when finished, will be an amazing asset to our school community,” he continued. “And this facility will be all about you, the students. It will be used—likely on a daily basis—by every student in our school.”
“We have benefited in extraordinary ways from Doug’s service to Mercersburg and his devotion to our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and parents,” Stacie Rice Lissette said. “As we honor the past and look to the future, we know that his considerable contributions have helped position our school for even better days.”
Hale is just the sixth head of school in Mercersburg’s 123 years as a college preparatory school. He came to Mercersburg in 1997 after 24 years at Baylor School in Chattanooga, Tenn., where he was a teacher, associate headmaster, and eventually headmaster. As a student-athlete at UT Chattanooga, he earned the school’s Dayle May Award as the varsity athlete with the highest academic average.
“Today, we are coming together to note a significant step forward and to acknowledge the spirit of our school community,” Frantz said. “The Field House is the culmination of years of planning.”
“From our founding, Mercersburg has embraced the importance of developing each student’s mind, body, and spirit,” Dupré said. “In building this Field House, we are stepping forward, honoring our athletic tradition, and affirming our commitment to developing each student’s athletic promise in the years to come.”
The groundbreaking ceremony was moved indoors due to inclement weather, which Lissette offered in her remarks as illustrating the need for the field house. “On a day like this [with rain], you’ll be practicing in this new space,” she told the students, which drew laughter and applause. “So in a way, the weather helped us out today.”
Mercersburg fields teams in 26 varsity sports—including indoor track & field, which will finally have an on-campus competition space of its own once the facility is completed.
Bowie Gridley Architects of Washington, D.C., designed the field house. The firm has previously completed extensive renovations to Nolde Gymnasium, and also created the adjoining Davenport Squash Center.
Construction of the field house is a key capital priority of Mercersburg’s $300-million Daring to Lead
Campaign. For more information on the Campaign, visit www.mercersburg.edu/daringtolead
to read a feature story on the field house from a recent issue of Mercersburg