The St. Mark's campus is busy this summer with new construction projects at various stages of completion. Highlighting the efforts to date is the work being done to create the T. Jefferson Coolidge Jr. '50 Athletic Performance and Wellness Center. The Coolidge Center, scheduled to open in time for the 2018-19 school year, is designed to support academic success through fitness and conditioning.
The addition of 2,700 new square feet of climate-controlled space will yield a 5,000 square foot facility dedicated to both athletic team training and fitness support for individual students of all ability levels. The Coolidge Center will be part of both the original Elkins Field House and the newer Michel Faculty Athletic Center, reclaiming Elkins as the entry point to the School's athletic complex by enclosing the cloisters to accommodate foot traffic from the Main Building to Elkins Field House and between the Athletic Performance Center and the Fitness Room.
Creating this new space means the School's total square footage of athletic space will nearly double. The current fitness room will remain, housing cardiovascular machines and other exercise equipment open to all members of the School community. The new Athletic Performance Center will have a direct and positive impact on St. Markers, providing opportunities for consistent aerobic exercise, weight bearing exercises, and practicing mindfulness on brain growth. Fitness sharpens the intellect, improves memory and combats stress. Athletic competition and wellness are an integral component of the educational experience at St. Mark's. The goal of the Coolidge Center is to prepare students for a healthy lifestyle beyond their days in Southborough.
The Center is named for the late T. Jefferson Coolidge Jr., St. Mark's Class of 1950. A scholar, Jeff Coolidge was a member of the Cum Laude Society. An athlete, he earned eight varsity letters at St. Mark's, playing football, hockey, and crew. A leader, he also served the School as Head Monitor in 1949-50. At Harvard, Coolidge was an All-Ivy center in football and at graduation he was presented with Harvard's highest athletic honor, the William J. Bingham Award, given for "integrity, courage, leadership and ability on the athletic field." He would go on to serve in the Marine Corps and with the CIA, before pursuing a career as both venture capitalist and philanthropist. He formed Coolidge Investment Corporation and founded the Thomas Jefferson Forum, which developed community service programs for 42 public and private schools throughout Massachusetts. In other charitable work he was particularly dedicated to serving the interests of young people in the justice system.
With its commitment to both mental and physical wellness, the new Coolidge Center at St. Mark's exemplifies the best to what T. Jefferson Coolidge '50 stood for.
Additionally this summer, the small dining room at St. Mark's is being completely renovated. Designed in 1960 and completed in time for the 1961-62 school year, the space between the original dining hall and the Hinkle Common Room had not changed much in more than half-a-century. It will certainly be different when students return in September. It continues to be a busy summer of construction at the School.