Construction on the Arlen Specter US Squash Center remains on track for completion in December of 2020. The Specter Center, located on the campus of Drexel University in the heart of Philadelphia’s University City, will be the first permanent home for US Squash and will bring together the entire squash community—from Team USA athletes to current amateur players, participants in U.S. national championships, and to the thousands of members of the surrounding community who will be introduced to and welcomed into the sport. Development of the Specter Center project has been carried out in close partnership with Drexel University, including their outstanding Division I Athletic Department.
The construction site, located in the Amory building directly across 33rdSt from the Drexel Daskalakis Athletic Center (where the U.S. Open Squash Championships have been held since 2011), was shut in March and April due to the pandemic, but reopened in May with enhanced safety protocols for all contractors and workers. All partners on the project are prioritizing the maintenance of a safe worksite throughout the remainder of the project.
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, house the U.S. Squash Hall of Fame and a Learning & Innovation Center, and offer athletes state-of-the-art high-performance development resources including a Coaching Excellence Center.
Once open, the Specter Center will be the flagship for US Squash’s Community Affiliate Program. Community Affiliates increase access by integrating junior, adult, scholastic, and squash and education initiatives in an innovative and sustainable way. The Specter Center will embrace this concept fully and places US Squash within a neighborhood where the entire community of all races, religions, backgrounds can come together under one roof to learn from each other.
Community accessibility will manifest in many different ways, including an expansion of the Drexel partnership to leverage its Office of University & Community Partnerships. Proactive outreach will offer free programming for residents of the surrounding neighborhoods and local civic groups, and scholastic programs for local elementary, middle and high schools will take place with introductory programs, clubs and team play. SquashSmarts, the award-winning Philadelphia-based squash and education program, will be a key partner of the Specter Center through expansion of their core programming into the Learning & Innovation Center and workforce development initiatives to train a generation of young people for careers in youth development, education and squash.
“I’m energized by seeing the progress being made on site at the Specter Center”, said Ned Edwards, Specter Center Executive Director. “After years of planning, the last few months have finally brought the project into focus as we see walls going up and materials for the courts arriving on site. We can’t wait to open the doors and show the community what a special and inclusive space we’ve built for the sport.”
A time-lapse video of the construction site since its resumption in July is available here.