September 19, 2018
Who knew Philly would become the epicenter of the squash community?
Apparently former U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter did.
According to his family, Specter, the longest-serving senator in Pennsylvania history, was the most avid squash player on Capitol Hill. Specter died in 2012 at the age of 82.
In his honor, his family has spearheaded a $27 million project to transform the 32nd Street Armory near 30th Street Station and Drexel University's campus into a national center for the squash community, named the Arlen Specter U.S. Squash Center.
According to U.S. Squash President and CEO Kevin Klipstein, the center "will have the most significant and enduring impact on the sport of any initiative in U.S. Squash's 114-year history."
Inside, it will house 18 singles courts, two doubles courts, include the U.S. Squash Hall of Fame, a Learning and Innovation Center that will partner with SquashSmarts to run an education youth program and offer coaching and development resources to athletes in connection with Drexel University's athletic program.
“We are thrilled to extend our longstanding partnership with U.S. Squash to help bring a national squash center to a city where the sport’s roots run deep,” Drexel President John Fry said in a media release. “This world-class facility will be a treasure for the city, a boon to its economy and a place for all Philadelphians to pick up a racket and play a lifetime sport that is one of the fastest-growing in the country.”
The center is slated to open in October 2020, right in time for the U.S. Open Squash Championships.
“Nearly a decade ago the U.S. Squash Board recognized the broad impact a national center could have for the game in the U.S.,” said U.S. Squash Board Chair Marshall Pagon in statement. “The Specter Center will turn this vision into reality, and once completed will substantially enhance our capacity to develop meaningful programs and deliver world-class experiences for the squash community."