Though the Cornell Victorious capital campaign is officially over, its benefits have just begun to be felt by Cornell’s athletic community.
Beginning with the Schoellkopf Hall renovation project, Cornell has several capital projects in progress, which will ultimately result in state-of-the-art athletic facilities, according to Andy Noel, director of athletics and physical education.
“We’re in a phase of freshening, broadening and improving our facilities for the community,” he said. “We are so fortunate that we have alumni and friends who care enough to contribute very substantial gifts so that members of the community can continue to enjoy the sports that they love.”
Schoellkopf, the headquarters for the football and sprint football teams, is receiving a significant facelift that will ultimately represent a new image for the programs. The project will cost a total of $8 million by the time it is completed. The first part of the project is a renovation of Schoellkopf Hall, which was first constructed over 80 years ago. Every part of that building will be refurbished, including the football coaches’ offices on the street level, and the locker facilities on the ground floor.
Most notably, the hall of fame room on the second floor of Schoellkopf Hall will be removed, opening that space to return to its original state as an open-air balcony.
The hall-of-fame room will be moved to a new building connecting to Schoellkopf Hall. This new facility, currently under construction in the space on the east side of Schoellkopf, will be called Friends Hall. The football-exclusive building will house the relocated hall-of-fame room, a football tradition room, and new locker rooms for the varsity football team.
Though the renovations on Schoellkopf Hall proper are slated to be completed by the summer, the timetable for this new addition is a little longer.
“It’s not expected to be completed until the end of September,” Noel said. “Trustee Council weekend is our goal.”
The completed Schoellkopf complex will instantly raise the stature of the Cornell football program, according to head coach Jim Knowles ’87.
“Schoellkopf will be the best facility in the league, it has to be one of the best facilities in I-AA when it’s all done,” he said. “The past of Schoellkopf has such an historic value, and that’s what the men who gave the money for it wanted. I referenced it many times during the season. During our ‘Winning Edges,’ we’d turn around and look at Schoellkopf and say, ‘OK, Cornell’s got a great past, Schoellkopf Hall has a lot of great stories here,’ and we’re building towards a bright future.”
Knowles expects to be able to occupy Schoellkopf by late June or early July.
While the football team moves back into its permanent headquarters at Schoellkopf, the facility it is currently occupying — the Grumann Squash Courts — will undergo a facelift of its own, as it becomes the new home for the women’s lacrosse, field hockey, and baseball teams.
“It will be a function of our ability to obtain gifts,” Noel said about the timetable for that project.
Elsewhere, with construction for the University’s Life Sciences Initiative slated to take place on the portion of the Alumni Field practice facility closest to the Biotechnology Building, the athletic department plans enhancements to the existing portion of that facility. These fields are expected to be used primarily by the men’s and women’s soccer teams.
“We expect to have very hearty natural grass fields ready for practice next fall,” Noel said. “There will also be a new support building with changing rooms and a modest [athletic] training area.”
Other projects on the department’s agenda include renovations to the Moakley House at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course and a new rowing center, which has been in the works for quite some time.
“We’re still determined to maintain our efforts on behalf of the rowing community here to build a new rowing center,” Noel said. “The Doris Robison Shell House and the Collier Boathouse in combination are not adequate to support a very large program. While we’re focused on maintaining that initiative, we’ll make necessary structural upgrades and renovations to keep the program whole.”
Often neglected, the Moakley House serves as the pro shop and primary office space for the golf team and the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course.
“The Moakley House has suffered a lot over the years and needs major rehabilitation,” Noel said. “We have a national-class golf course and our facility for accommodating guests vis-