April 17, 2012 — The men's and women's squash programs at the University of Virginia have received a substantial boost, thanks to a $12.4 million gift from the Charlottesville-based Quantitative Foundation to create a state-of-the-art facility at the Boar's Head Sports Club.
The 33,000-square-foot venue will significantly expand the squash program at the University, providing a new home for the sport, which is currently played at the club level. Additionally, the facility will be available to U.Va. faculty, staff and students through the Department of Intramural-Recreational Sports, as well as to members of the Boar's Head Sports Club and guests of the Boar's Head.
When complete next spring, the facility will house eight international singles courts with seating for approximately 10 to 20 spectators at each court; an international show court with seating for 200-300 spectators; two new North American doubles courts; an upper viewing mezzanine; four dedicated squash locker rooms (men's and women's for home and visiting teams); a team room/lounge; coaching office; and a storage room. The facility will be designed by Bartzen + Ball Architecture Design and Planning, of Alexandria and Richmond.
The current major focus of the private Quantitative Foundation is the development of squash on the local and national level, said its founder, Jaffray Woodriff, a 1991 graduate of the McIntire School of Commerce. Woodriff is chairman and chief executive officer of Quantitative Investment Management (also based in Charlottesville), a global investment firm specializing in alternative investment strategies for institutional and private investors.
"We hope this facility provides the opportunity for squash to grow at all levels in the community," he said.
Robert D. Sweeney, senior vice president for development and public affairs, said that the project is already attracting attention.
"Even before construction starts, we are hearing from parents, students, prospective students and community members who are excited about the possibilities this facility represents," he said. "If the early signs are any indication, we're about to experience a groundswell of interest and enthusiasm that extends far beyond the University, the community and the commonwealth."
Construction is expected to begin in May.
Situating the squash facility at the Boar's Head Sports Club allows University faculty, staff and students, together with guests and members of the Boar's Head Sports Club, to have access to the courts. Both groups will be able to sign up for squash camps and clinics that may be conducted by either the U.Va. squash club or the Boar's Head.
"U.Va.'s squash facility will have no peers," said Tim Rose, chief executive officer of the University of Virginia Foundation, which oversees the Boar's Head Sports Club. "We are excited about partnering with U.Va. to provide this sport to not only faculty, staff and students, but also Boar's Head Sports Club guests and resort guests."
As a home base for the University's collegiate teams, the facility will provide practice space as well as a place to host state, national and international squash competitions. Currently, the University's squash facilities are spread out at various locations around Grounds.
"I think squash, more than almost any other sport, is populated with players who see the game as not only recreation or competition, but as something essential," Grant White, coach of the men's and women's programs, said. "There is a true sense of community in the sport, with older players mentoring younger players on and off the court. As a result, the student-athletes who play squash are some of the most mature and engaging young men and women in the country. This incredible new facility puts U.Va. in a position to develop and promote a wonderful sport. And that makes this donation not just a gift, but an act of stewardship."
The College Squash Association, which just posted its final rankings for the 2011-12 season, ranked the U.Va. women's team at No. 32 nationally. The men's team finished the season at No. 42. Both teams entered the season unranked. The College Squash Association website lists 87 squash-playing colleges and universities in the U.S.
– by William Cocke