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Sewickley Academy dedicates new Events Center and Means Alumni Gym

| Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016, 7:09 p.m.
Kristina Serafini | Tribune-Review
Sewickley Academy students and faculty make their way to the new Events Center and Means Alumni Gym for a dedication ceremony for the multipurpose center Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016.
Kristina Serafini | Tribune-Review
Lower school student Sebastian Tan waves a 'Go Panthers' pennant as he and others walk to the new Events Center and Means Alumni Gym for a dedication ceremony for the multipurpose center at Sewickley Academy on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016.
Kristina Serafini | Tribune-Review
Sewickley Academy senior Ryan Brown looks over his speech backstage prior to a dedication ceremony for the school's new Events Center and Means Alumni Gym on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016.
Kristina Serafini | Tribune-Review
Sewickley Academy middle school students Kipauno Washington (front, from left), Bobby Serafin and Aditya Menon react with other classmates to explosions of streamers and confetti during a dedication ceremony for the school's new Events Center and Means Alumni Gym on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016.
Kristina Serafini | Tribune-Review
Head of School Kolia O'Connor speaks during a dedication for Sewickley Academy's new Events Center and Means Alumni Gym on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016.

Sewickley Academy celebrated the opening of its new Events Center and Means Alumni Gym on Nov. 22.

“This is a dream that originated with our 2005 strategic and master plan,” Head of School Kolia O'Connor said. “It was something that we hoped for and aspired for, for many years. Getting serious about its conception, to today, it took a good four years.”

The LEED-certified, multi-purpose center will serve as the centerpiece for the campus community.

It features an NCAA-regulation sized basketball court, a fitness center, core training room, classrooms for testing, two meeting rooms, offices for coaches and athletic staff, a large trophy case, concession stand and expanded locker rooms for both middle school and senior school boys and girls.

“The locker rooms are college-quality,” said Mason Sanfilippo, a junior member of the cross country team. “It's been really fun for me because I've seen the school grow so much over the past 11 years. It's great to have a gathering place for the entire school.”

The gym seats more than 750 people and could hold a maximum of 1,300 people, school leaders said.

Sewickley Academy has an enrollment of 617 students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12, according to school spokeswoman Brittnea Turner.

The Rea Auditorium on campus holds around 550.

“We've never been able to accommodate everybody,” junior Michael Bartholic said. “Now, we're able to see the little kids and celebrate different things together.”

For O'Connor, having a space for the entire student body “was a huge piece of this whole project. I'm looking forward to holding graduation in here. We'll make it look gorgeous.”

The original Means Gym was built in 1962. The new facility was designed by architect Johnathan Glance, a 1993 alumnus of the school.

“It took a lot of people and a lot of time” O'Connor said.

The gymnasium is named for the Means family — Nancy and John, and their three children — all of whom are graduates and former athletes of Sewickley Academy. Nancy Means serves as a board of trustees member and the school's girls golf coach.

Golfer Lexie Bosetti said she is excited to use the specialty indoor driving range at the facility.

“This place is incredible,” the sophomore said. “The transformation was really amazing.”

Matthew Peaslee is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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