Earlier this year, US Lacrosse launched “Game On,” a $15 million capital campaign highlighted by the National Lacrosse Center, a 45,000-square-foot facility on 12 acres in Sparks, Md., that will serve as the new national headquarters for US Lacrosse, feature an expanded museum to showcase the sport’s history and include an exhibition and training field that will serve as the home for the U.S. national teams.

But it’s more than that.

“This campaign is about more than a building,” said Susie Chase, vice president of the US Lacrosse Foundation. “It’s a center of leadership in the sport for the entire country.”

Donors have embraced the campaign and the organization, Chase said.

“They’re inspired by spreading the sport across the country and they think US Lacrosse is best positioned to do that,” she said. “It’s all about the kids for them.”

Since US Lacrosse was founded in 1998, the organization’s staff has grown from 12 to 84 and it went from serving 20,000 members to more than 430,000.

The current headquarters were built in 1991 and expanded in 1998, but the organization’s growth has rendered the building inefficient. Further expansion is not possible. US Lacrosse currently leases office space in three separate locations at a hotel across the street from its headquarters. An auditorium, conference room and storage space all were cannibalized to create more workspaces.

“This organization has suffered operationally because our current arrangement is suboptimal,” said Steve Stenersen, president and CEO of US Lacrosse.

But how will a new building in Baltimore serve the sport on a national level? That question came from a commenter on a Facebook post about the campaign.

One of the leadership roles that US Lacrosse plays is in delivering much-needed educational resources for coaches and officials. The new facility will play a major role in helping expand US Lacrosse those offerings.

“A big part of our strategy is to build up a pool of people to deliver the curriculum consistently throughout the country,” said Erin Smith, director of education and training for US Lacrosse. “The biggest impact is going to be the ease of hosting a variety of training sessions at the facility, primarily our train-the-trainer sessions for coaches and officials. We spend a lot of time with logistics and with the building, we’ll have everything we need to host clinics and training.”

Expanding the pool of qualified instructors is essential to scale the education programs. Currently, US Lacrosse has a group of trainers that travel the country and conduct instructional clinics for coaches. A local area’s need is dependent on the availability of this select group of trainers.

“We want to equip every one of our chapter areas with their own group of Level 1 trainers,” Smith said. “The leagues in those areas will then be able to work directly with the chapter area trainers to set up clinics.”

Another key component of the new facility for the education and training team will be the availability of the field for both clinics and to expand video offerings. Currently, the group has to rent space and work around the schedules of various facilities.

US Lacrosse has raised $9 million toward its $15 million goal for the campaign, which also includes significant investment in player safety and expanded support of playing opportunities for underprivileged youth, primarily through the First Stick Program.

With continued success in fundraising, US Lacrosse could break ground on the new facility in early 2015 and move in 2016.

“This is a great investment to retain and attract great staff to drive our mission,” Stenersen said. “This is a place for our staff and volunteers to be excited about and proud of, just as our current building was when we moved there. But we’ve long ago outgrown it. It’s time.”

Support the Campaign

There are several named giving opportunities available, including brick pavers along the promenade of the National Lacrosse Center. To learn more about giving opportunities, visit USLacrosse.org/GameOn or contact Susie Chase, vice president of the US Lacrosse Foundation at 410-235-6882 #125 or [email protected]

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