Following US Squash’s early May announcement to retain Ned Edwards to explore the fundraising potential for a National Center as part of US Squash’s long term strategic plans, the Board of Directors approved moving to the next phase in the initiative at a recent meeting in New York.
The US Squash Board unanimously expressed its full support behind the National Center project, which would include eighteen singles courts – two four-glass-walled exhibition courts and two or more North American Hardball Doubles courts, a state of the art Learning and Innovation Center, the U.S. Squash Hall of Fame and the latest in streaming and media opportunities for the sport, all in the heart of University City in Philadelphia.
The Board took this step based on the overwhelmingly positive responses about the National Center from the squash community at large over the last three months, as well as the very strong fundraising momentum that has been generated. To date, two-thirds of the estimated $26 million goal has been committed.
While final approval will depend on the satisfactory resolution of several factors regarding the site, timing and other terms, Mark Pagon, US Squash Chairman of the Board, expressed his expectation that these hurdles will be cleared, and went further to say, “We are very pleased with the rapid progress in securing some initial generous commitments to the project.”
Pagon continued, “The impact on US Squash and the sport would be extremely significant in terms of the quality of the programs the organization offers and the tremendous improvement in the experience and the conveniences for the players, parents and fans.”
The National Center will offer world-class programming across all segments of the squash community, including the National Teams and Squads, schools and intercollegiate play, urban squash, North American doubles and broad community access with the goal of building enthusiasm and talent nationally across all socio-economic borders.
The Center’s twenty courts will create a hub of thirty-nine courts within a three-block radius that includes Drexel University’s seven courts and the University of Pennsylvania’s twelve courts. The Center will be the ideal host site providing unparalleled conveniences and experiences for players and their families traveling from around the country and around the globe to compete in the largest squash tournaments.
Edwards’ excitement for the National Center has only intensified based on the feedback he and the rest of the National Center Campaign Committee have received, noting, “We’ve been thrilled to see how quickly people see the transformational potential of the National Center to broaden growth and access, train champions and to create squash experiences and relationships that will last a lifetime.”
Stephen Gregg, Executive Director of the local urban squash and education program, SquashSmarts, and board member of the Philadelphia Youth Sports Collaborative said, “A National Squash Center should be a beacon of light that inspires both a generation and a community of athletes of every level to be the very best versions of themselves on and off the squash court.”
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