In the work zone

Construction of the new field house and The Goel Center for Theater and Dance enters the home stretch.

October 27, 2017
Play VideoExeter students in the field house.

When the Thompson Cage opened in the winter of 1929, the editors of The Exonian did little to mask their pride: “The completion of this cage marks the attainment of an old ambition and the opening of a new era in athletics at Exeter. The old cry of insufficient practice due to a lack of equipment in the winter term will be a thing of the past, for the new cage is without doubt one of the finest in the country.”

More than 40 years later, the newspaper quoted Trustee Emeritus James A. Fisher ’38 speaking about plans for PEA’s first permanent performing arts facility, Fisher Theater. “I hope that a proper theater built with an eye to maximum flexibility will inspire even more and better participation,” Fisher said. “Opportunities will expand, I hope, for acting, and that means appearing with confidence before others. ... And behind the scenes, opportunities for those in [the] production of sets, lights and all that goes with them.”

Those words have equal currency today, as the Academy prepares to open two new facilities on its South Campus this academic year: the field house (January 2018) and The David E. and Stacey L. Goel Center for Theater and Dance (April 2018). Both buildings promise to be as revolutionary as their predecessors, providing modern, state-of-the-art spaces for students and educators for decades to come. Together, they will transform South Campus into a vibrant community hub that celebrates and promotes the ideal of mind and body working together.

Here is a sneak peek at the two buildings under construction this fall — with the help of some of their eager new tenants. Watch for full coverage of the building openings next year. 


Exeter students in the Goel Center for Theater and Dance.

The Goel Center for Theater and Dance’s mainstage theater will be a modified proscenium venue with 350 seats and an orchestra pit to serve drama, musical theater and dance. The neighboring thrust stage will offer seating for 149 spectators on three sides. Pictured: Actors Emmanuel Vasquez ’20, Jacob Hunter ’19 and Anna Clark ’19.

Shall we dance?

Abigail “Abby” Zhang in the Goel Center.

The Goel Center for Theater and Dance’s dance performance studio (not visible here), with 119 seats, will be Exeter’s first performance space designed specifically to dancers’ needs, including sight lines and a shock absorbing sprung floor. Pictured: Abigail “Abby” Zhang ’19.

Mat Matters

Kevin Lyskawa in the field house.

The field house’s new wrestling room can accommodate side-by-side competition circles for a program that has won more New England championships than any other independent school. Pictured: Kevin Lyskawa ’18.

Net Gains

Repsold De Sanson ’18 and Gabriella “Gabby” Gabel in the field house.

Four competition-ready tennis courts will offer year-round training opportunities and ensure every home varsity match is played regardless of weather conditions. Pictured: Pedro Repsold De Sanson ’18 and Gabriella “Gabby” Gabel ’18.

Inside Track

Abel Ngala ’18 in the field house.

The 84,574-square-foot field house includes a 200-meter track oval with six 60-meter sprinting lanes and eight straightaway lanes. Bleacher seating can accommodate 500 spectators. Pictured: Abel Ngala ’18.

—Photos by Cheryl Senter

Editor's note: This article first appeared in the fall 2017 issue of The Exeter Bulletin.