Construction Continues on the Tsai Dining and Athletic Center

Following months of planning and construction, the excavation for the foundations of the Tsai Dining and Athletic Center (TDAC) started this week.

Following months of planning and construction, the excavation for the foundations of the Tsai Dining and Athletic Center (TDAC) started this week. Construction for the TDAC began in January with the relocation of underground utilities, such as steam, gas, and water pipes. In August, the Al Rashid Strength and Conditioning Center was torn down to work on the future dining hall, pool, and hockey portions of the project, which are scheduled to be completed by the summer of 2022. The rest of the complex—the renovated field house, site work, driveways, landscaping, and athletic fields—are scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2023.

While most facilities in New Jersey were shut down during April, construction projects at schools were still able to continue. However, even though Covid-19 has not yet impacted the construction process, Chief Operations Officer Pete DeVine P’22 anticipates some potential disruptions to occur within the supply chain of materials.

On the current construction progress, DeVine reflected, “We are anticipating some disruption, but it’s hard to tell right now because this is all new territory for everyone. We’ve given ourselves a little leeway during the construction process, but we’re hoping that we see very little disruptions throughout the project.”

Funded by Executive Vice Chairman of Alibaba Group Joseph C. Tsai ’82, the TDAC is a transformational project that will redefine an entire sector of campus. This new building will house a variety of new athletic facilities, including renovated hockey rinks, physical fitness areas, and varsity gyms, as well as common areas, multipurpose rooms, and dining areas.

For DeVine, the TDAC complex is unique because “it’s not just an athletic building. This is a building for all of the community, all the folks at Lawrenceville. Everybody will have a good reason to use the space, especially in the winter, as it connects everything from recreation to athletics to dining,” he said.

To minimize the school’s footprint on the environment, the TDAC will utilize efficient energy sources from geothermal fields to heat and cool its interior. According to DeVine, the geothermal fields will allow the TDAC to be an incredibly efficient building in terms of utility costs. “It’s going to pay off dividends like how the solar fields have done for us. The geothermal fields are going to be the same way, and we’re going to be able to efficiently run campus because of the fields and solar panels,” DeVine said.

As construction continues, one of DeVine’s goals is to “keep the construction as separate as possible from the students’ day to day lives.” He looks forward to seeing further progress on the TDAC, saying, “We’re definitely on track and on schedule...A lot of planning that nobody sees goes on in the background, but once we start digging and building this week, a lot of progress will be made soon.”


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