France-Merrick Grant Caps Fitness Center Fundraising

  • News Image
    The renovation includes a curving glass wall that defines the cardio workout gallery.
  • News Image
    A large crowd packed the fitness center for the official dedication of the new and newly refurbished areas earlier this year.
May 09, 2013
The Baltimore-based foundation pushes the College’s $2.1 million campaign for the newly renovated Johnson Fitness Center over the top with a generous gift of $100,000.

CHESTERTOWN, MD—Washington College’s $2.1 million campaign to fund renovations to the Johnson Fitness Center has surpassed its goal with a $100,000 grant from the France-Merrick Foundation. The Baltimore-based foundation, which in the past has supported scholarships at the College, as well as construction of the Kirby Stadium and renovation of the Gibson Center for the Arts, made the award to install an energy efficient ceiling and lighting system in the center that will save the college nearly $50,000 annually.

“We are grateful, as ever, to the France-Merrick Foundation, which has supported the College at key moments in the past and continues to help us provide our students, faculty, and staff with state-of-the-art facilities,” said College President Mitchell B. Reiss. “This grant also supports our commitment to make our campus as environmentally sustainable as possible, an ongoing and critical effort.” 

John A. Moag, Jr. ’77, trustee emeritus, and Edward P. Nordberg, Jr. ’82, chairman of the College’s Board of Visitors and Governors, co-chaired the year-long fundraising effort. Honorary co-chairs were Board members Peter D. Davenport and Benjamin H. Johnson, and trustee emeritus William B. Johnson ’40 H ’75. 

With its dynamic curved glass façade mirroring that of the Gibson Center for the Arts, the Johnson Fitness Center was rededicated in February after a complete renovation and expansion that more than doubled the space devoted to weight training, core strength conditioning and cardiovascular exercise. The field house was retrofitted with more energy-efficient insulation and lighting, and the College invested $100,000 in new equipment. 

The Fitness Center is open to all staff, faculty and students and to members of the 1782 Society who opt to use the facility for an extra annual fee. For more information on the new center, equipment, and the fitness classes available, visit

Founded in 1959 by Jacob and Anita France and Robert and Anne Merrick, the France-Merrick Foundation strives to improve the quality of life in the Greater Baltimore region through focused giving in five priority areas: civic and cultural life, community development, education, health and human welfare, and historic preservation and conservation.

Last modified on May. 9th, 2013 at 4:44pm by Kay MacIntosh.