New facility at Swenson Field welcomed by campus community
After years of planning, this summer the Bear Paw Pavilion, located at the Edward C. Swenson Athletic Complex, officially opened, and those who remember the old facility couldn’t be more thrilled.
“The upgrade from our previous situation is like night and day,” said football player Michael Rosa, ’21, an exercise science major from Uxbridge. “The team and I could not be more appreciative.”
According to Dr. Mary Beth Lamb, athletics director of student affairs and enrollment management, the former building was literally a converted cinder block garage.
“There was no heat, no ventilation, it was always moist and really outdated,” she said.
At one point, mushrooms were growing inside of lockers.
The new $2.2 million building was made possible through fundraising and a budget surplus. It includes a center hub with 100 top-of-the-line wooden lockers, which were built by through a program run by the state’s corrections department.
“The lockers themselves are something you’d see at a higher division school, definitely an upgrade from our previous lockers,” Rosa said.
The room is also dividable and can create two rooms for different teams to use simultaneously. A satellite athletic training space and mechanical/equipment room is housed in the building as well.
Public restrooms, including a gender-neutral family bathroom is available, and in each locker room there is a dedicated space that is also gender neutral.
“One of the things we wanted to do was make this facility inclusive for students and the public,” Lamb said.
The Bear Paw Pavilion is a game changer, said physical education major Lindsey Golden, ’23, of Mansfield, a member of the track and field team.
“No more running to Tinsley or waiting in line for a porta-potty,” she said. “I am extremely excited for my teammates and I to have a facility that supports track and field. This new building means a lot to our whole team.”
Football player Daniel Flores Martinez, ’22, a criminal justice major from Milton, said the new space is not only beneficial to current athletes but recruits as well.
“Current and future players will get a much better sense of how a college football program operates by having a new locker room,” he said.
Lamb said, the goal is to eventually raise more funds through fundraising and sponsorship efforts to add another wing to the pavilion to include an additional 50-person locker room and two coach’s offices.
For now, those who will use the new building are nothing but grateful, and, according to Rosa, there are also the intangibles to consider.
“The locker room is where we spend a lot of time,” he said. “Having a place like the Bear Paw Pavilion will give us an even better opportunity to bond as a team.”
An official ribbon cutting ceremony is planned for Saturday, Oct. 23 at 8:30 a.m. during Homecoming weekend.
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