‘An Endless Amount of Resources’: The New Center for Athletics, Recreation, and Wellness Redefines Athletic Excellence

Peyton Mullarkey holds a basketball between his hands as he sits on the Cecil the Sagehen logo in the middle of the basketball court. He has short brown hair and wears a blue practice uniform and gray sneakers. Behind him is a basketball net and a blue wall with Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens in blue text with a white outline. Pomona-Pitzer is in smaller plain script and Sagehens is in large cursive script.
Peyton Mullarkey ’25 in Voelkel Gym

Claremont, Calif. (March 22, 2023)—A basketball thumps on the court like a heartbeat. Wheels whir on a Peloton bike. Orange dumbbells rise and fall. Feet brush against vibrant green turf. Zumba dancers move in sync with upbeat music. California sunlight pours from tall windows, shining on rich blue walls, pale oak wood, and state-of-the-art equipment in almost every size and shape. 

Such are the sights and sounds of the 100,000-square-foot Center for Athletics, Recreation, and Wellness (CARW)—the new nest of Sagehen Athletics’ 21 varsity teams and the Pomona-Pitzer community. According to Director of Athletics Miriam Merrill, this facility “ushers in a new definition of wellness and what it can look like.” 

First-class features 

15,000 feet larger than the former Rains Center, the CARW is new construction aside from the revamped Voelkel Gym. The $57-million building and renovation project has equipped CARW with features such as: 

  • N & N Practice Gymnasium, boasting a sweeping view of the San Gabriel Mountains  
  • Draper Public Fitness Area, a 5,877-square-foot recreational area with cardio and weight equipment  
  • Athletic Performance Center, a 4,876-square-foot strength and conditioning space 
  • Studios for fitness classes 
  • A thoroughly refreshed Voelkel Gym for basketball and volleyball 
  • Classrooms fitted for academic seminars, club meetings, and more 
  • Locker rooms to accommodate all varsity teams and other community members 
  • Second-floor terrace overlooking the football and baseball fields  
  • New and enhanced facilities for sports medicine and team meetings  

“It’s great that we have fitness and strength equipment, but it’s also a space for folks to sit down or reflect,” said Merrill. “We invite people to engage in wellness in whatever capacity that may be.” 

From Pilates to yoga to pickleball, fitness activities abound at CARW—providing opportunities for fun activities and improved well-being. Merrill and the CARW team are expanding educational wellness programming about topics such as nutrition, sleep, emotional health, and how to get started with workouts.  

Charlize Andaya sits on a gray couch in a lounge space on the first floor with a view of the gray stairs and pale oak wood sitting-steps leading upstairs. Charlize places her hand on a basketball beside her on the couch. She has long dark brown hair with reddish tips pulled into a bun on top of her head and wears a long-sleeved black shirt with Pomona-Pitzer Basketball in white text and orange shorts with a white stripe in between two blue stripes at the bottom. Behind her is a blue wall with a photo collage of student-athletes playing soccer, football, basketball, lacrosse, and other sports and a section of the old basketball court with the P-P logo in blue and orange.  Sagehen Pride in orange text is spread across a glass wall on the second floor.
Charlize Andaya ’23 in the event lobby space by the Pomona-Pitzer Wall of Champions

Blending athletics and academic achievement 

CARW’s multifaceted resources reflect how Sagehen Athletics takes a well-rounded approach to fitness for its varsity teams. The Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens program combines the best of academics and sports to create a collegiate experience that tests both the minds and bodies of its scholar-athletes. 

Peyton Mullarkey ’25, a management engineering major at Pitzer, had always been a good student, but he didn’t have a love for learning until he met his basketball teammates.  

“The basketball team is full of academic studs,” said Mullarkey. “The guys and professors inspired me, and now I love competing in the classroom.” 

According to Mullarkey, the team is full of premed students, and usually at least one person arrives late to practice because of lab. Coaches support students in prioritizing school, but that doesn’t mean the team takes the sport any less seriously. In February, the team clinched their fourth-straight SCIAC Regular Season Title over CMS. 

Charlize Andaya ’23, a mathematics major and data science minor, shared a similar experience in women’s basketball. 

“The student-athletes are hardworking and determined in both academics and athletics, so seeing that pushes me to do my best in the classroom and on the court,” said Andaya. 

Andaya and Mullarkey appreciate how the student-athletes show up to games or meets in other sports to rally support. With its pristine and spacious attractions, CARW has drawn more fans to games and built camaraderie in the Pomona-Pitzer community. 

 “It feels like there’s an endless amount of resources at the CARW,” said Andaya, citing the team workouts at the Athletic Performance Center, the two basketball gyms, and the equipment for weightlifting, plyometrics, and conditioning. 

Charlize Andaya stands with her hands on her hips in front of the orange and blue Olympic weights in the Athletic Performance Center. She has long dark brown hair with reddish tips pulled into a bun on top of her head and wears a long-sleeved black shirt with Pomona-Pitzer Basketball in white text and orange shorts with a white stripe in between two blue stripes at the bottom.
Charlize Andaya ’23 in the Athletic Performance Center

“Besides the equipment, we have a really great athletic department who care about us as people,” continued Andaya. “Our coaches push us to be the best version of ourselves not just in our sport, but in life. We also have our athletic trainers, and they help us with aiding and preventing injuries.” 

Mullarkey’s favorite part of CARW is the men’s basketball team locker room. 

“It’s a space just for us,” said Mullarkey. “I love hanging out with my teammates in the locker room before/after games and practices. It makes it easier to bond.” 

Certified in sustainability  

Designed by SCB and principal architect Tim M. Stevens and built by C.W. Driver, CARW received a LEED Platinum certification. Its extensive features result in a 35% Energy Use Intensity reduction compared to code baseline, a 39% indoor water-use reduction, and a 50% outdoor water-use reduction. 

The building’s sustainable design includes:  

  • Low-E glass to control glare 
  • Passive solar shading strategies to mitigate solar heat gain  
  • Abundant natural daylight to limit artificial light 
  • LED lighting  
  • SMARDT efficient (oil-free) chiller 
  • Parker efficient boiler  
  • No-VOC and low-VOC finishes for superior air quality  
  • Super-low-flow plumbing fixtures  
  • High solar-reflective roofs  
  • Planned rooftop solar array 
  • Biophilic design to increase connection to nature through access to sunlight and views 

A space for everyone 

Merrill affirms that the CARW is “tailored for the community”—whether you are a faculty member signing up for a spinning class, a friend group putting together a volleyball match, or an athlete looking for an Olympic-level workout. 

“There are certain spaces geared toward student-athletes, but that too is a space for everyone,” said Merrill. 

For Mullarkey, CARW enhances not only his experience in wellness, but also the community’s. 

“It is a place where students and athletes can unite on their fitness journey,” said Mullarkey. “I appreciate all the donors and experts that have made CARW happen!” 

If you would become a champion of Sagehen Athletics, make a gift to support student-athletes today.

About Pitzer College

Pitzer College is a nationally top-ranked undergraduate liberal arts and sciences institution. A member of The Claremont Colleges, Pitzer offers a distinctive approach to a liberal arts education by linking intellectual inquiry with interdisciplinary studies, cultural immersion, social responsibility, and community involvement. For more information, please visit www.pitzer.edu.

About Sagehen Athletics

Pitzer College joins with Pomona College to field 21 varsity teams – The Sagehens – that compete in Division III NCAA athletics and as members of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC). There are 10 men’s and 11 women’s teams: baseball (men), basketball, cross country, football (men), golf, lacrosse (women), soccer, softball (women), swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, volleyball (women) and water polo.

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