As spring fights its way through the snow, the boy’s lacrosse sticks are in full bloom as they ready for a new season. To ready ourselves for the upcoming lacrosse seasons, the Onondaga Nation has partnered with Bennetts & Huysman Architects and Hueber Breuer Construction for the construction of a new lacrosse facility, Gahόñhsӓ’.
“We wanted to create a building that had the intimacy of our current box with versatility of an indoor facility,” said Onondaga Nation council member Brad Powless. “I think that that we are able to come up with some ideas that players will enjoy.”
The new building will have the same size floor at Tsha’Hoñ’noñyeñ’dakhwa’, have 4 locker rooms, a referee room, women’s and men’s bathrooms, a first aide room, bleacher seating for over 300 fans, an artificial turf playing surface, solar paneled, LED lighting, and a great view of the AC field.
“We really wanted to re-create the feeling of a longhouse with this lacrosse facility,” stated architect Paul Huysman. “People associate lacrosse with the Haudenosaunee and the Onondaga people. We wanted to reflect that in the architecture of the building.”
Like Tsha’Thoñswatha’ (the fire house), the Nation council directed the design team to be aware of the natural environment in its construction.
“The building is a laminated wood structure,” said Otey Marshall of Hueber Breuer Construction, a former Princeton lacrosse goalie himself. “Steel’s impact on the environment was a part of our decision to use wood but also we just felt that the laminated wood arches really convey Onondaga’s connection to nature and to the wooden lacrosse stick.”
“We wanted this building to be more than a lacrosse box,” added Tadodaho Sid Hill. “This building will have the capability of taking up the boards and pushing the stands back to make a larger playing surface. Plus we wanted the flexibility to play in the winter months, so the walls will be retractable. Open in the summer and closed in the winter.”
With the onset of the World Indoor Games coming to Onondaga, Vern Abrams, Onondaga Eel clan, is coordinating all of the planning, scheduling and construction phases of the lacrosse pavilion.
“It is definitely a tight schedule to have Phase 1 ready before the World Games begin,” said Vern Abrams. “But the important thing is that this building is done right. And I think everyone will enjoy the flexibility of this building for the future boys and girls athletics as well as a community facility”.
Now, we just have to wait for the snow to cooperate.