Friday, Feb. 2, Elizabethtown College will have a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the beginning of building the Bowers Center for Sports, Fitness and Well-being.
The Bowers Center will be 78,000 square feet upon completion and is the largest building to be built on campus in 20 years. The Bowers Center will be built behind Wolf Field by the sand volleyball court.
According to the Director of Community Affairs and Special Events Caroline Lalvani, this building will take a little over 16 months to finish and is expected to be opened by the fall semester of 2019.
The Bowers Center will be filled with many spaces to help students with their overall wellness. There are rooms set apart for various workshops, tutoring and counseling.
The building will also have three recreational courts, a 180-meter track with a Mondo surface, locker rooms, areas for training and a yoga room. There will also be spaces where students can gather, one of which is outdoors and features a fire pit and another that is indoors with a fireplace.
A demonstration kitchen that can be used for classes will be located in the Bowers Center. A smoothie bar will also be present in the finished center.
The Bowers Center will be named after Kenneth and Rosalie Bowers, who both graduated from Etown in the classes of 1959 and 1958, respectively. The two got married in 1960 after meeting at Etown in 1955. They were both teachers in high schools until they came to teach at Etown from 1961 to 1967.
Besides teaching, Rosalie was a librarian, and Kenneth had a job in the field of public relations. After holding other positions, the Bowers moved back to the area, and, upon retirement, Kenneth worked at Hershey as the vice president of corporate communications. Rosalie worked at Pennsylvania Blue Shield as the assistant corporate secretary.
The couple have always been strong supporters of the College, with Kenneth on the Board of Trustees, and they donated money to the Bowers Center building project.
According to Lalvani, they have been involved with and have donated to the College for over 50 years.
“They are deeply committed to the institution and absolutely love our students,” Lalvani said.
The ceremony begins at 4 p.m. Friday in the Jay Walk. President Carl Strikwerda will speak and talk about the various plans for the Bowers Center. The namesakes will also be introduced at this time.
Then, the ceremony will move to the location of the new Bowers Center for the construction to begin.
According to Lalvani, about 160 people are expected to attend the event. Everyone is invited to attend. Some expected attendees will be members of the College community, dignitaries in the community, members of the Board of Trustees, members of the College Fundraising Committee, members of the construction team, the architects and the contractors. The fundraising for this project was led by Steve Capoferri and involved more than 70 volunteers.
According to Lalvani, $18.2 million has been raised for this project. It is part of the Be Inspired Campaign, a $60 million campaign for the College led by Jim Shreiner and Judy Ware.
To learn more about the new Bowers Center and see a virtual walk-through of the building, please visit https://www.etown.edu/inspired/wellness-center.aspx#flythrough.