Today at the 2019 FS Investments U.S. Open, US Squash celebrated the progress made towards the completion of the Arlen Specter US Squash Center, scheduled to open in Fall 2020. US Squash led tours of the location currently under construction: the historic Armory building on Drexel’s campus, just a few steps from the Daskalakis Athletic Center, where the U.S. Open is being staged.
Kevin Klipstein, the president and CEO of US Squash, spoke about the limitless possibilities that the Specter Center. “We can’t wait to open the Specter Center and transform squash in Philadelphia, the U.S. and the world. It will be the flagship for the game. The Specter Center, with eighteen singles courts and two doubles courts, will open next fall. It will model broad community engagement and access while being a home for squash in the U.S. It will serve as US Squash’s national headquarters, house a learning and innovation center run in collaboration with official community partner SquashSmarts, the U.S. Squash Hall of Fame, squash’s first comprehensive museum, a coaching excellence center and state-of-the-art high-performance athlete development resources in coordination with Drexel’s Division I athletic program.”
Eric Zillmer, Drexel’s athletic director, spoke about the enduring partnership between Drexel and US Squash. “This is the ninth year that Drexel has hosted the U.S. Open. It has been an incredible experience that with the Specter Center will deepen and broaden in a myriad of ways. We are so blessed to have the visionary leadership of John Fry, the president of Drexel.”
Paul Assaiante, the Ganek Family US Squash Head National Coach, spoke about the Specter Center’s three guiding principles. “The first is access,” he said. “This means squash for all. The second principle is opportunity—cultivating the next generation of squash players through programs like SquashSmarts. 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 the twelve new courts at Penn, 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—when they visit Philadelphia.”
Steve Gregg, the executive director of SquashSmarts, spoke about the future of his award-winning program at the Specter Center. “Next year we will all be standing together just a block away from here,” he said, “but a world away from the game as we know it right now. SquashSmarts will grow from 211 students to over 900. But the Specter is so much more than just a place for an urban program. It will develop a new ecosystem where we incubate and innovate community squash programs as we bring squash to new audiences. We will create a center where a Todd Harrity can grow up with a Tempest Bowden, an Olivia Fiechter with a Oscar Merino, the Faison brothers with the Sobhy sisters—that everyone will have the same resources and the same opportunities from the first day they pick up a racquet.”
The Arlen Specter US Squash Center is currently under construction. Located in the historic Armory building, the Specter Center will dramatically accelerate US Squash’s progress towards its mission centered around access, community, excellence and sportsmanship. 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, operating in partnership with SquashSmarts, Philadelphia’s award-winning out-of-school squash and education program.