October 19, 2022 By Carol Britton Meyer
Hingham Sports Partnership (HSP), a nonprofit organization committed to supporting and advocating for youth and high school sports, has launched a $1.5 million fundraising campaign to create “The Dock,” a new fitness and wellness facility at Hingham High School.
The Dock project aims to transform the old high school concession building near the track area into a code-compliant state-of-the-art fitness and wellness facility that will be accessible to all HHS students, replacing an existing storage/maintenance facility adjacent to the track in the rear parking lot, according to a recent HSP press release.
The new proposed 2,500 square-foot modern center will encompass fitness, wellness, exercise, and additional programming, potentially before, during, and after school time.
“The existing weight room is primarily used by boys’ sports teams and is dated, uninviting to female students, and has poor ventilation and no windows,” HSP President Deb McCarthy said. “The time has come for a larger and more modern facility for fitness and wellness activities at the high school, and HSP would like to rally the community to make ‘The Dock’ a reality.”
The Dock represents “an enormous enhancement for health and wellness and social opportunities, regardless of whether a student plays a sport or not and brings the HHS campus up to par with other benchmark communities,” McCarthy said.
Just as Harbormen and Harborwomen are welcomed at their docks when they arrive home from the sea, McCarthy said, “we envision ‘The Dock’ to be a place for all students — regardless of age, gender, physical or intellectual capability, or participation on sports teams — to gather and feel welcome while they enhance their health, fitness, and wellness.”
The Dock will be a gathering place at the end of the school day for students to “get in a workout, meet with friends or team members, or to just decompress before a team practice,” McCarthy said.
The number one priority “is for our students to achieve a balance of a high-quality education with motivating options for physical and mental wellbeing,” she explained. “Our board knows that this facility will be a popular destination for team or club workouts, additional educational programming, and a social spot where the school community can gather.”
In light of the fact that the town has many current capital projects underway, as well as “a long list for thoughtful future consideration,” the HSP board voted to move forward with a capital campaign to entirely fund this project through philanthropy in consideration of the many competing priorities.
Hingham Sports Partnership has experience in fundraising for large capital campaigns like The Dock. As an example, nearly 10 years ago, the HSP board coordinated a significant fundraising campaign and was also the lead financial donor for the renovated high school athletic complex that many athletes and spectators enjoy today.
While key support for the project will come from the fundraising campaign, there will be two HSP-hosted events next year to benefit The Dock, according to McCarthy. More details will be available at a later date.
While no formal vote was required for this project, School Committee members responded positively to the proposal following a HSP update on the project last May. “We also have letters of recommendation from Principal Rick Swanson and the new Superintendent of Schools [Dr. Margaret Adams].”
Swanson expressed great enthusiasm for The Dock. “The HHS community is excited about this project. We’re all aware that physical activity can play a key role in mental health and wellness. The Dock project is happening at an opportune time as we expand new electives to address and benefit students’ mental health and wellness,” he said. “This facility would give us better space to host these new electives, such as yoga and more. Now more than ever, we need to find ways to improve the everyday wellbeing of students, faculty, and the community.”