Construction on the University of Vermont’s long-awaited Multi-Purpose Center project is scheduled to begin as early as next week, University officials announced today at a small, ceremonial groundbreaking held Saturday morning.
The Department of Athletics and the UVM Foundation held the ceremony in front of Gutterson Fieldhouse to recognize some of the top donors to the project. “With several of our highest-level donors to the project, Foundation volunteers, and Trustees in town this week, we thought it would be a great opportunity to celebrate the start of construction,” said UVM Director of Athletics Jeff Schulman ’89. “We’re looking forward to another event later this summer that will be a community-wide celebration of the project’s beginning and of the broad philanthropic support that it has and continues to receive.” The announcement brings to an end years of anticipation for what will be a transformative improvement to athletics, fitness, recreation, and wellness spaces at UVM.
“We are thrilled to be breaking ground imminently on the Multi-Purpose Center,” said UVM President Tom Sullivan. “These new and renovated facilities will inspire our student-athletes to greater competitive excellence and also will create welcoming environments for our fans and for the hundreds of students, faculty, and staff members who will use them each day for wellness, health, and recreation opportunities.”
The Multi-Purpose Center project will bring substantial changes to the 55-year-old Patrick-Forbush-Gutterson Athletic Complex, located at 97 Spear Street in Burlington. Project highlights will include the construction of the new Tarrant Center, which will be home to UVM’s men’s and women’s basketball programs, as well as host a variety of academic, social, cultural, and entertainment programming. There will also be a major renovation of historic Gutterson Fieldhouse, and the creation of a three-story shared space between that facility and the Tarrant Center. This part of the facility will feature spacious concourses with restrooms and concessions, simplified circulation, and a well-appointed Victory Club room with spectacular views into both Gutterson and the Tarrant Center.
Beyond the improvements for varsity athletes, teams, and fans, the Multi-Purpose Center will become the hub for recreation, wellness, and fitness for the entire UVM campus thanks to dramatic upgrades and a five-fold increase in the space dedicated for health, wellness, and recreational use. Enhancements will also include study areas and lounges that will support the academic and social objectives of the Department of Athletics and the other University units that use the facility.
Remarkable Gift Paves Way for Groundbreaking
A $4 million gift from UVM alumnus Chuck Davis (Class of 1972) and his wife Marna allowed the UVM Foundation to meet—and exceed—the initial fundraising goals stipulated by the University of Vermont Board of Trustees. With the Davises’ support secured, the Trustees gave their final endorsement for construction to commence during a meeting earlier today. In recognition of their generosity, the Multi-Purpose Center’s Recreation and Wellness Center will be named in honor of Chuck’s mother, Phyllis “Phiddy” Davis (Class of 1945). In addition, the Victory Club room will be named the Davis Family Victory Club.
“Chuck and Marna have done more than provide an extraordinary gift that allows us to move ahead with the project,” noted UVM Foundation President and CEO Shane Jacobson. “Their incredible generosity will surely inspire other alumni and fans to support our entire student body and UVM Athletics in the months and years ahead.”
“The Davis family loves the University of Vermont. We all grew up in Burlington, and many of us went to UVM,” said Chuck Davis. “Being a physical education major here and a participant in varsity sports, these facilities mean a great deal to me. Marna and I are excited that thousands of students will use the new Recreation and Wellness Center, and hope that a lot of healthy fun will be had there. UVM is a place that recognizes the importance of sound mind and body, and we look forward to the new facility being a significant added resource to UVM’s developing health and wellness programs.”
Chuck Davis transferred from Middlebury College to UVM and became a stand-out soccer player (All-Yankee Conference selection in 1971) and tennis player (team captain and Yankee Conference singles champion in 1972). After graduating, he went on to earn a Master of Business Administration from Columbia Business School, and has spent his career in the financial services industry. Chuck is currently the CEO of Stone Point Capital, a global private equity firm. He served as a trustee of the University from 1996-2002, and was inducted into the University of Vermont Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001.
Marna Davis is a graduate of St. Lawrence University (where she sits on the Alumni Executive Council), and after working in government and the financial printing business, she worked in the National Banking Department of The Bankers Trust Company. An active volunteer, Marna is currently on the board of The Shelburne Museum and chairs the board of the Fibrolamellar Cancer Foundation, a non-profit grant-making organization founded by her and Chuck’s late son Tucker. The couples’ previous philanthropic gifts to UVM include a lead gift to the Dudley H. Davis Center (named in honor of Chuck’s father, a member of the Class of 1943) and the creation of the Charles & Marna Davis Soccer Scholarship Fund.
The Multi-Purpose Center project is being funded through a combination of private philanthropic gifts and other institutional sources. To date, the UVM Foundation and Department of Athletics have raised over $32 million in commitments for the project—more than has been raised for any capital project in UVM’s history. To learn more about how you can support the Multi-Purpose Center project—including about opportunities to name spaces within the Center—visit go.uvm.edu/itstime or contact Director of Major Gifts for Athletics Chris Bernier at Chris.Bernier@uvm.edu or (802) 656-3910.