After moving into its new headquarters in Sparks, Md., in May, US Lacrosse is preparing to show off its new home to the public at a grand opening Sept. 10-11.
"We really had an aspiration to build a Mecca for the sport," said Ann Carpenetti, vice president of lacrosse operations for US Lacrosse.
When the organization launched in 1998, US Lacrosse headquarters was located on the Johns Hopkins University campus in Baltimore. At the time, there were only a handful of people on staff. However, with lacrosse's popularity continuing to rise nationally in the past decade, the US Lacrosse staff grew to approximately 90 individuals, forcing the staff to work in two separate buildings.
Susie Chase, vice president of philanthropy and partnerships for US Lacrosse, said the sport's growing popularity presented an opportunity for US Lacrosse to make the move.
"The organization had been outgrowing the old facilities," Chase said. "The Sparks location gives us a home for our 90-plus staff and allows us to best serve this growing community. We're now all based under the same roof."
The process to move from Johns Hopkins University began in 2010 when US Lacrosse launched the Capital Campaign, which raised money to build new structures at a new location. Private individuals and organizations donated more than $14 million to the Capital Campaign. US Lacrosse originally planned to move into a new, rented headquarters inside Baltimore City, but the organization ended up paying approximately $4 million to purchase the 12-acre plot of land in Sparks in 2012. Carpenetti said the more suburban Sparks location was the best financial decision US Lacrosse could make.
"The ability to own our property was huge," Carpenetti said. "With the other place [in Baltimore], we would've ended up in a long-term lease situation. We now end up somewhere with a campus-feel and a training center for our national teams."
The 45,000-square foot, three-level complex will not only house meeting and office space for staff, but also training and locker rooms for the national men's and women's lacrosse teams, the under-19 teams and the US men's indoor lacrosse team. The grounds will include an exhibition stadium, a new playing field, and an education and training center used for youth lacrosse opportunities. Additionally, other donations will go toward research for improving safety measures for the sport.
Also included in the new headquarters building will be the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame, featuring the Richie Moran Hall of Fame Gallery.
Moran played as a defenseman for the University of Maryland from 1958-1960, coached for 29 years at Cornell University and led the Big Red to three national championships. Moran was a three-time recipient of the F. Morris Touchstone Coach of the Year award and was inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1983. To this day, Moran is considered an important figure for the sport.
"Coach Moran is an endeared member of our community. Many players he coached -- they raised dollars to honor him," Carpenetti said.
The Sept. 11 public grand opening will feature the US men's and women's lacrosse teams participating in separate morning scrimmages and will also feature a match between members of the New York City police and fire departments. During the grand opening weekend, the William G. Tierney Field, named after current University of Denver men's head lacrosse coach, will be dedicated. There will also be dedications of the Hall of Fame and of a memorial built near Tierney Field to honor the 60 individuals who lost their lives in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and had been involved in growing the game of lacrosse.
"We really hope that people will come out and learn more about US Lacrosse, the work we do and this growing game across the country," Chase said.
Carpenetti agreed and said fans of the sport will get the sense of the headquarters. Everything on the new grounds was built as a result of the lacrosse community's contributions.
"We just want folks in our community to feel like they're coming home," Carpenetti said, "that this is their facility and that they are always welcome here."
Issue 224: August 2016