City approves new Campbell Sports Center

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Architect providing “wow” factor

The Campbell Sports Center is being designed by Steven Holl, a Columbia professor widely regarded as one of America’s leading architects. He created MIT’s honeycomb-like Simmons Hall in Cambridge, Mass., the gently curving Kiasma Museum in Helsinki, and a knotty cluster of residential towers connected by sky bridges called Linked Hybrid in Beijing. The Campbell Sports Center, an aluminum-clad building with walkways zigzagging up its southern facade, will be Holl’s first building in New York City. It will feature numerous eco-friendly building and design elements.

The future locations of the Campbell Sports Center (A) and Boathouse Marsh (B) at Baker Athletics Complex, which is seen here looking west. / Courtesy Columbia Athletics“It’s a bold structure that makes a serious statement about our athletics program,” says Murphy. “It’s certainly going to provide a ‘wow’ factor that will help our coaches in their recruiting.”

Columbia aims to raise approximately $55 million for the construction of the Campbell Sports Center; alumni and friends of the University so far have committed about $34 million for this purpose. The center is one of the main elements of the ongoing $100 million fundraising campaign for Columbia athletics, for which $63 million has been raised. Other campaign priorities include endowments for coaching and administrative positions, support for regular sports–team operations, and the renovation of a tennis clubhouse.

According to President Lee C. Bollinger, the naming of the sports center will honor William V. Campbell’s lifelong commitment to the University. Campbell was the captain of the 1961 football team that shared the Ivy League championship with Harvard, and he coached the Lions from 1974 to 1979. Fortune magazine has called Campbell, the former CEO and now chairman of financial-software company Intuit, the “secret coach” of Silicon Valley for his mentoring of executives at other companies such as Apple and Google. Campbell is known for his progressive and employee-friendly leadership approach, including his recruitment of women executives. He has led the Columbia Board of Trustees since 2005.

“Bill Campbell’s passion for athletics and for the University is second to none,” says Bollinger. “As a football player, head coach, devoted alumnus, and now chair of the University Trustees, Bill’s leadership has meant, and continues to mean, so much to Columbia. It is truly fitting that we name our new sports center after him.”

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