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UVa aims to expand squash facility, host world championships
McArthur Squash Center, June 9, 2017
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Credit: Tim Dodson, Charlottesville Tomorrow
The McArthur Squash Center is located at the Boar's Head Sports Club and opened in 2013.
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Tim Dodson | Saturday, June 17, 2017 at 6:28 p.m.

The University of Virginia Foundation is planning to expand the squash facility at the Boar’s Head Sports Club in anticipation of the World Masters Squash Championships next year.

Plans for a 20,000-square-foot addition to the McArthur Squash Center were part of a multi-year major capital plan approved at a joint meeting earlier this month of the UVa Board of Visitors Buildings and Grounds Committee and Finance Committee.

“It’s really in order have these big tournaments — like international squash tournaments — in Charlottesville,” Colette Sheehy, the university’s senior vice president for operations, said in an interview following the meeting.

According to board documents, the $9 million expansion will add five new singles courts to the McArthur Squash Center, as well as study space, locker rooms and offices.

“The location of the facility directly adjacent to the existing squash center takes advantage of existing functions, such as additional locker room space, which may be used to host visiting teams,” a description of the project reads.

The additions will bring the total number of courts at the center to 14 singles and two doubles.

The 33,000-square-foot McArthur Squash Center opened in 2013 and was funded by a $12.4 million gift from Jaffray Woodriff, a UVa alumnus and trustee of the Quantitative Foundation.

Sheehy said a single donor is funding the expansion. UVa has not yet announced who this individual is and a university spokesperson did not respond to an inquiry about the donor’s identity.

The center is currently home to the UVa men’s and women’s club squash teams, and serves the university community and Boar’s Head members and guests.

According to UVa squash coach Mark Allen, the current facility has hosted several national and professional tournaments, but the expansion will put the McArthur Squash Center in a better position to host more major tournaments.

“To host the vast majority of the major national championships available through U.S. Squash, the College Squash Association and international events offered by the World Squash Federation, we must have a minimum of 14 courts,” Allen said. “The expansion will get us to the ‘magic number,’ and with our own hotel on site it will put us in a strong position to win tenders on all the major squash championships that are available.”

The expanded center is slated to host the World Squash Federation World Masters Squash Championships in July 2018, shortly after construction is expected to be completed.

The project is currently in the design and planning phase and will be the subject of a site plan review meeting with Albemarle County on June 22. The UVa Foundation hopes to complete the design process by August and start construction in September or October.

This is not the only project in the works for at the Boar’s Head. Fundraising efforts are underway for an $11.8 million to $12.8 million tennis stadium for the UVa men’s and women’s tennis teams.

Additionally, a new indoor golf facility is expected to be constructed at the Birdwood Golf Course. That project is budgeted at $4.9 million to $5.4 million. Both facilities are being funded with gifts.

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