The Specter Center will feature eighteen singles courts—including two all-glass exhibition courts—and two doubles courts, and offer athletes state-of-the-art development resources including a Coach Excellence Center. The facility will house a community engagement-focused Learning & Innovation Center, the U.S. Squash Hall of Fame, and serve as US Squash’s national headquarters all on the campus of Drexel University.
“The Specter Center will allow us to fulfill our mission of increasing access, encouraging sportsmanship and achieving excellence. Everything we do at the center will amplify the squash community’s inclusiveness, rooted in tradition and shared values, ones that will be passed from player to player and from one generation to the next.“
-Kevin Klipstein, President & CEO, US Squash
The Specter Center will offer expansive community access programs to expose the game to a broad cross-section of new players. These models will be exported nationwide, while best-practices from existing programs will be integrated into the center’s initiatives.
SquashSmarts, Philadelphia’s award-winning youth squash and education program founded in 2001, has been selected to serve as the official partner and community program provider for the Specter Center. SquashSmarts staff housed at the Center will utilize the squash courts and the Learning & Innovation Center to lead three key initiatives:
- Community Programs: developing new initiatives with local schools and civic groups to introduce thousands of pre-k, elementary, middle and high school students and families to squash
- Core Programs: expanding current SquashSmarts out-of-school time programs that provide intensive squash-and-academic mentoring for hundreds of underserved public-school youth
- Workforce Development: training a generation of young people for careers in squash, education and youth development
Team USA’s goal: Always on the Podium
The Specter Center will build on current momentum in US Squash’s high-performance programming by providing world-class training resources for in-residence professionals and squads of Team USA’s top junior, college, and adult players.
Athlete development at the Specter Center will work in close concert with Drexel’s award-winning Division I athletic facilities, where the Dragons athletic department has been an innovator in training methods and sports science.
The Specter Center will play host to the most significant events on the U.S. championship calendar, and deliver an unparalled experience to participants. Innovative technology will allow fans—both on site and around the world—to follow the action live in ways not before possible.
The center’s ideal location in the heart of Philadelphia provides easy access to 30th St Station and the airport, and short walks to numerous hotels, restaurants and cultural offerings. Additional courts at Drexel and Penn provide a critical mass of 37 singles courts within a three-block radius.
The dream of a national home for squash has been envisioned for decades. The US Squash partnership with Drexel University—beginning with the hosting of the 2011 U.S. Open—laid the groundwork for potential use of the Philadelphia 33rd St Armory, which Drexel had been using as a multi-purpose student activity space beginning in 2008.
The creation of the Specter Center will add to the rich history amassed by the Armory since its construction in 1916. For nearly a century, it primarily served as a home for the Pennsylvania Army National Guard’s 103rd Engineer Battalion, which can trace its history to Ben Franklin’s call in the 1740s for Philadelphians to unite for their common defense.