New Athletic Center Already Key to Community

It's game on in OES's new athletic center!

In just a few short weeks of opening, the 41,905 square foot center—which can hold up to 1,200 people at once—has hosted volleyball games and a tournament, open gym for basketball, open houses for families, summer camps, and division gatherings. 

"There is already so much interaction," said Athletic Director Dennis Sullivan, who is also interim director for community. "A school is that interaction between students and the community. This space can serve as a study hall, a place for drama students to block scenes, or where parents can pick up kids and see one another."

New social spaces are one of the biggest accomplishments of the project, said Director of Facilities Jon von Behren. "Before, it was just kind of a box with a couple of hoops, locker rooms, and a few offices," said von Behren to Oregon Business magazine. "Now, kids can work by themselves or collaboratively."

The school had outgrown its original 1964 facility, and a 2012 master plan advised renovation or replacement, so construction ideas began to solidify.

The $17 million project was set to begin in March 2020, just as Covid took hold. After a six-week delay, the decision was made by the board to continue the project, a decision that turned out to be a good one since the campus community was less disrupted by construction. (Click here to watch a two-minute video by Walker Jones '20 of the year-long building project). 

The new Morissette Court has full-size basketball and volleyball courts, and two basketball and volleyball practice courts when the bleachers are retracted. The renovated original space is Kris Van Hatcher '70 Court, after the first OES student to graduate with 12 varsity letters, who returned after graduation to become OES first athletic director.

The Aardvarks' first official win in the new facility was August 26, when the girls' varsity volleyball squad beat Rainier 3 out of 3 games! Both JV and varsity play tonight (Friday 9/10/21) at 4:30 and 6 p.m., respectively. Come on out to cheer on OES teams and see the new center for yourself!

If you would like a tour of the Athletic Center please email Madeline Pruett at pruettm@oes.edu