The Arlen Specter US Squash Center, which is scheduled to open for the 2020 U.S. Open, was highlighted on Thursday evening at the 2018 FS Investments U.S. Open.
Located just two blocks from Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station in the historic Armory building, the Specter Center will feature eighteen singles courts—including two all-glass exhibition courts—and two doubles courts, serve as US Squash’s national headquarters, the U.S. Squash Hall of Fame, house a Learning & Innovation Center and offer elite athletes state-of-the-art development resources including a Coaching Excellence Center and coordination with Drexel University’s robust capabilities as a major Division I athletic program. The Specter Center will serve as a model for community engagement and access, operating in partnership with SquashSmarts, Philadelphia’s award-winning out-of-school squash and education program.
Between U.S. Open quarterfinal matches on Thursday evening, a ceremony celebrating the planned Specter Center was held on the ASB Glasscourt with representatives from US Squash, Drexel and SquashSmarts. John Fry, president of Drexel University, remarked on the journey that has led to this point: “This was a vision of many over a long period of time with a couple of guiding principles that did stay true. We want to build—and we will build—the finest squash facility in the world, hands down. The Specter Center is guided by three principles: the first is access—squash for all, the second principle is opportunity—cultivating the next generation of squash players through a program like SquashSmarts, and the third is excellence—elite athletes will train here and reach the next level because of the Specter Center.”
Coupled with the seven courts of the Kline & Specter Squash Center at Drexel, as well as twelve new courts at the University of Pennsylvania, the Specter Center will create a hub of thirty-seven courts within a three-block radius in University City. The Specter Center will deliver an unparalleled event experience to players and fans from around the country—and the world—as they visit Philadelphia.
The Specter Center has been made possible by the generosity of a visionary group of donors, led by Shanin and Tracey Specter. Specter reflected on the importance of squash to his late father Arlen Specter, the longest-serving senator from Pennsylvania and long-time squash devotee: “It is so important to Tracy and me and our entire family to be able to support squash in this manner. My father was a great inspiration for us to play squash and be physically fit. He was pretty busy as a member of the U.S. Senate and yet he would play squash just about every day. He would say ‘I used to say that squash is the most important thing I do every day, but now I say that squash is the only important thing I do every day.’ He also said ‘you’re never too far behind to win, and you’re never too far ahead to lose.’ That’s of course a great lesson both on the court and in life. It just comes to us so naturally to be able to support this fantastic sport—this sport for a lifetime.”
The potential of the Specter Center was represented on court by current U.S. champion Amanda Sobhy, and SquashSmarts middle school squash director Tempest Bowden. Through grassroots engagement and elite athlete development, the Specter Center will be a home for the entire U.S. squash community.