Campus News

Peter Buck Center for Health and Fitness Now Open

Story posted September 22, 2009

The Peter Buck Center for Health and Fitness opened Tuesday, September 22, 2009, ushering in a new era of wellness at Bowdoin.

The center's fitness areas — cardiovascular fitness and weight machines on the ground floor, free weights and rowing machines on the lower level — opened at 6:30 a.m. The College's Department of Health Services, relocated to the Buck Center's third floor from Dudley Coe, is scheduled to begin operations in the new building Friday, Sept. 25.

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Cardio equipment and weight machines on the ground floor of the Buck Center for Health and Fitness.

The Buck Center, made possible through the generosity of Dr. Peter Buck '52, is an addition to the Morrell Gym complex housing exercise rooms, the College's health center, athletic department offices and flexible space that can seat up to 40 people for academic classes and meetings. It was designed by Cambridge Seven Architects of Cambridge, Mass.; the contractor was Barr & Barr, of Framingham, Mass.

"The new Peter Buck Center for Health and Fitness is a wonderful addition to the Bowdoin campus and a place where every member of our community can pursue and realize their health and wellness goals," said Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster.

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Free weights on the lower level.

About Peter Buck

Peter Buck, of the Bowdoin Class of 1952, is a nuclear physicist and philanthropist who co-founded the Subway franchise restaurant chain.

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Peter Buck '52, H'08

Born in South Portland, Maine, Buck earned master's and doctoral degrees in physics at Columbia University. From 1957 to 1978 he held positions as a nuclear physicist with several companies.

In 1965 he made entrepreneurial history when he loaned a 17-year-old family friend $1,000 to open the first Subway Sandwiches and Salads Shop. This endeavor grew to two stores the next year, 16 shops by 1973, and individual franchise sales by the mid-1970s. As of September 2009, there were 31,697 Subway restaurants in 91 countries.

Buck, who now lives in Danbury, Conn., was awarded an honorary doctor of human letters degree by the College in 2008. Read about Buck's philanthropy.


The Buck Center, which takes the place of the Watson Fitness Center, allows Bowdoin to offer existing fitness and wellness programs in one location. Watson will be converted to a multipurpose student lounge and game space.

Hours of Operation

Fitness Center

The fitness center's hours continue unchanged:

Monday through Wednesday: 6:30 a.m. to midnight

Thursday: 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Friday: 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Saturday: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Sunday: 9 a.m. to midnight

Health Center

The hours of operation for the Health Center also remain the same. The Health Center will be open when classes are in session during the following hours:

Monday through Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (except Wednesday: 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

Saturday and Sunday: Noon to 2 p.m. for acute problems

The Buck Center includes a free-weight fitness facility with rowing machines on the lower level, a cardiovascular fitness center with weight machines on the ground floor and a new interior climbing wall.

Fitness programs will continue to include spinning, multiple levels of Pilates and aerobics, and classes focused on circuit training and overall physical fitness.

Flexible space on the third floor has been designed to accommodate these programs and others, such as yoga, tai chi/qigong and dance.

Health Center

The third floor of the Peter Buck Center for Health and Fitness will be the new home of healthcare services currently housed at Dudley Coe Health Center.

A fully equipped primary care medical office staffed by board-certified physician's assistants, nurse practitioners and contracted physicians, the Health Center will continue to provide primary and acute care services to students when classes are in session.

The new healthcare services facility complies with new federal regulations and HIPAA rules regarding privacy and includes examination rooms, medical staff offices and a waiting room.

Athletic Department Offices

The athletic offices formerly on the west end of Morrell Gym have been relocated to the Buck Center's second floor, where they are, for the first time, under one roof.

The second floor also includes a multipurpose room that can seat up to 40 people for classes and meetings.

LEED Building Project

Bowdoin has registered the health and fitness center as a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) building project.

LEED-Certified Projects
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The Sidney J. Watson Arena, dedicated January 18, 2009, has become the first newly constructed ice arena in the U.S. to earn coveted LEED certification.

If certified, the Buck Center would become the fourth LEED-certified campus building.

More about LEED certification here.

The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) created LEED as a rating system for green building.

The following practices contribute to LEED credits:

  • Building products that incorporate recycled and post-consumer content
  • Locally extracted and manufactured building products
  • More than 95 percent of construction waste diverted from landfills
  • Indoor air quality management plan
  • Low-VOC emitting building products such as adhesives, paints and carpets
  • Low-flow plumbing fixtures with motion-sensor faucets
  • Green Power (Campus Energy Contracts)
  • Low mercury fluorescent lamps
  • Highly reflective roof membrane to reduce solar gain and heat island effect
  • High-efficiency mechanical and air handling equipment for optimal energy performance
  • Automated light management system

A formal building dedication is scheduled January 28, 2010.

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