Photos: Holy Cross Makes Way for Joanne Chouinard-Luth Recreation and Wellness Center

State-of-the-art facility to serve as new center for recreation and intramural sports; Luths increase gift for Wellness Center, totaling an overall gift of $40 million

College of the Holy Cross" upper campus — where the Field House currently sits — will soon be home to the new Joanne Chouinard-Luth Recreation and Wellness Center, a state-of-the-art facility for campus recreation and intramural sports. To make way for the new building, demolition of the Field House has begun.

The Field House has served as an important gathering space for recreation, intramural sports and campus life since 1947. The structure started out as a war-surplus hangar at Camp Endicott in Rhode Island before being reassembled on campus, where it has hosted dances, commencement ceremonies and, memorably, was the site of a speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. during a campus visit in 1962.

The new 52,000 square foot facility — colloquially referred to as 'The Jo' — will offer a new home to campus recreation, through a wide range of fitness and wellness spaces, including sports courts, weight rooms, a golf simulator, three rooms for yoga, cycling and fitness, and a one-tenth-mile suspended jogging track overlooking Worcester. The three-story facility will also be home to club and intramural sports and house an expanded office for Public Safety. Even the vending machines are getting an upgrade and will offer all-healthy options.

"This new facility will more than meet an ever-growing need for a modern fitness and recreation space on campus," says Michele Murray, vice president for student affairs and dean of students. "We know the vast majority of our students value wellness, and The Jo will be an essential component to the health and wellness of the minds, bodies and spirits of not only students, but the entire Holy Cross community."

Construction of The Jo is made possible by a $40 million donation — the largest in College history — from John Luth '74 and his wife, Joanne Chouinard-Luth. A significant part of the donation, $25 million, is allocated toward the renovation and expansion of the Hart Center, now the Hart Center at the Luth Athletic Complex, which was dedicated in 2018. The balance of the donation, which was recently increased by an additional $7.5 million to total $15 million, is being used to fund The Jo.

Dr. Chouinard-Luth has a long and deep commitment to health and wellness. An alumna of Newton College of the Sacred Heart and the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, Chouinard-Luth had a 30-year career in dentistry and public health. She also holds an M.S. degree in nutrition from Columbia University's Institute of Human Nutrition in New York.

Her M.S. degree and interests in mitochondrial medicine focus on prevention and mitigation of risk factors for chronic diseases. Along with her husband, John, she established a charitable foundation to promote global awareness of nutrition's fundamental importance to every individual's quality of life and athletic performance potential.

The Jo is slated for completion by Fall 2020.

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