A main hub for intercollegiate athletics at Wells College, the Frances Tarlton Farenthold Athletic Wing was extensively renovated prior to the 2015-16 academic year. Opened to the public in February of 1980, the 12,000-square-foot facility was one of the first facilities of its kind to be constructed on the campus of an all-women's college.
The venue serves as the primary competition site for the Wells men's and women's basketball and volleyball programs. In addition, the space is utilized by the campus community as numerous admissions events, fairs and other student life programming is housed within the space. Local high schools make use of the facility for basketball contests requiring a large capacity for attendance.
Originally constructed with two indoor tennis courts with a durable floor surface to house out-of-season practices for field hockey, lacrosse and soccer, the space was extensively renovated during the summer of 2015 and outfitted with a wall-to-wall wooden floor, retractable bleacher seating, newly-constructed restroom facilities and energy-efficient lighting fixtures.
Durable wall coverings and a drop-down curtain to separate the gym allows for flexibity to host a wide variety of programming, including dual practices and intramural practices.
Numerous organizations and individuals contributed to the development and implementation of the renovations, including the J.M. McDonald Foundation (chaired by Don McJunkin), George and Priscilla Slocum, Cayuga Lake National Bank (President Bill Ryan), Steve Moolin and Pete Sorber of Beardsley Architects & Engineers, Dr. Thomas de Witt, President Jonathan Gibralter and Provost and Dean of the College Cindy Speaker.
In May of 1980, the then-unnamed facility was dedicated to then-president Frances Tarlton Farenthold at a board of trustees dinner at the Aurora Inn in celebration of the new center. Farenthold, who served as Wells president from March of 1976 to June 1980, was the first female president in college history and was an advocate for the construction of the facility.
"President Farenthold's continuing support of a strong athletics program for women, her belief in the important of athletics in preparing young women for a competitive society and her active role in the creation of this center make it most appropriate that it bear her name," said William Allyn, an honorary Wells trustee.