The Trials and Triumphs of the North Campus Project


By Ruth Kramer ’18, Editor-In-Chief

The North Campus Project is finally wrapping up and aspects of the new gym, locker rooms, and pool are open and available to students. Many students, coaches, and athletic administrators are beginning to celebrate as completion approaches, however, with this completion comes a lot of questions: why did the gym take so long, when will it be completely open to everyone, and what is really going on with the locker room sizes? These questions have been lingering around the community since the beginning of the project and as completion approaches it is finally time to give the students and community the answers they’ve long been waiting for.

The refurbishment and renovation of the North Gym begins in the gym itself. Mr. Jaccaci has called the renovation of the space a “total improvement–right down to the floors” and Athletic Director Chris Milmoe has said that everything is being changed: “the bleachers are being moved to the other wall so people don’t have to walk under basketball hoops during athletic events”. These improvements that may seem minor add up to the major theme of the North Campus Project: making the space more welcoming and open to all students and community members. The small changes to make things convenient for CCD students continue all around the North Campus Project, with gender-neutral spaces becoming the locations for things such as equipment rooms, workout rooms, trainer spaces and offices, Physical Education offices, the wet classroom outside of the pool, a visitor’s locker room, as well as the new kitchen available for pre-game snacks. This important shift from having the trainer’s office as well as the equipment room in the boys’ locker room to placing them in a gender-neutral space is an important part of enriching education. Mr. Jaccaci stated, “athletics are an important part of education. Women’s sports are a critical part of female education and when the north gym was originally built it didn’t have women in mind because it was an all-male school.” Mr. Jaccaci continued to say that one of the most important parts of this project was ensuring gender-neutral spaces so that male and female athletes had equal access to services needed for athletics.

With the gender-neutral spaces in the new gym space also come gender-specific spaces, in particular, locker rooms. Both the boys and the girls locker rooms have received major upgrades. With the opening of the boys locker room, many have begun to question the integrity of the girls space and if it will compare to the boys locker room space. Mr. Jaccaci and Mr. Milmoe both think it does. “It’s as close to equal as possible,” Mr. Jaccaci said, adding that the girls needed spaces equal to that of male athletes. And the girls locker room is very similar to the boys. With about 200 lockers in each locker room, the spaces are much more related than they used to be. In the girls’ locker room there are 34 varsity lockers with overhead bins and lower bins for stowing sports equipment. In the boys’ locker room there is an additional space, called the Parry Room, which also contains 34 varsity lockers. This offset “varsity locker room” for the boys has been a hot topic for discussion among many students and faculty at Country Day, as many believe that the extra space is unfair to female athletes. However, the money originally given with regard to the Parry Room was given to refurbish the space that was originally built in the old building. This money was not specifically given to male athletics or male locker rooms, it was simply put aside for the refurbishment of the North Campus Project. This still prompts inquiries into the financial aspects of female athletics. With that, the question shifts: why are there more donors willing to give money to male athletics, but not female athletics, despite their success and comradery? What do girls have to do to be given the same amount of money for their athletic efforts from donors? While these questions still linger, female athletes can find solace in the fact that the spaces were originally the same, and the locker rooms are far closer to equal than they have been in the past.

The North Campus Project is incredible because of the various improvements made throughout the area. The trainer’s office now includes a hydrotherapy tub for athletes while the equipment room has almost tripled in size. There is a huddle room right outside of the girls locker room for before games and the wet classroom gives not only swimmers, but all athletes a chance to take a moment and study their tactics to improve themselves and their game. The addition of a kitchen was a seemingly small, but no less important move as it now allows students to stow away snacks for after practices or before games and encourages healthy habits during exercise. At the pool, a chair to allow persons with physical disabilities to be able to safely enjoy the pool just as able-bodied community members do. Outside of the North Gym, a new playscape for Lower Schoolers has been designed and is currently being built. Mr. Jaccaci noted the importance of play for younger students because the idea is “to allow kids to play and make meaning in play”. He also went on to say that the hope for the playscape was to recreate some of Cincinnati’s best playspaces such as the Cincinnati Nature Center while including specific elements such as a water stream and a climbing tunnel for kids.

Through reconstruction and refurbishment, the North Campus Project has become the Leonard Athletic Center and Levinson Pool. These incredible additions are investments into Country Day’s current and future students. But these investments are about more than just students, they represent ideas as to what a school should be: open and welcoming. The new athletic facilities, as Mr. Jaccaci put it, is “welcoming to our athletes and our community”. Next year, all athletes are set to have full access to the finished space. The vast improvements that have made the space more comfortable to all students and athletes are not lost on the Country Day community and we can only hope that these improvement won’t stop with a gym or a pool or a playspace, but will expand further into other aspects and pieces of Country Day that make it the amazing place it is.