Merlino Center Approaches Finish


The future weight room space of the Merlino Center under construction in October of 2022.

Cole Hackman, Staff Writer

As many may know, a half-finished building looms over the back side of the Prep campus. The new Seattle Prep Merlino Center will be positioned on the northeast corner of the  campus and connect to the existing McDonnell Hall and McHugh Gymnasium. The building will stand on top of where Rudolph Field previously stood. The 12,375 square-foot multipurpose building will include a sports court, a weight room on the ground floor, a dynamic training area, and batting cages.

The Merlino Center is part of Prep’s fundraising campaign, the “Level the Field, Raise the Bar Campaign.” The campaign was divided into two phases; phase one directed towards remodeling parts of the school and phase two towards building the Merlino Center. Phase 1 of the campaign raised $3.8 million toward creating the Lico Athletic Complex, including new locker rooms, trainers’ spaces, Panther Place store, and gym lobby. Phase 2 of the campaign aimed to raise $13 million to construct the new multi-use Merlino Center and Prayer Garden.

Many student athletes have expressed excitement about completing the second phase of the campaign. When asked his thoughts on the Merlino Center, football and soccer player Michael Riley said he was looking forward to “the new dynamic turf field which would allow teams to have indoor practices if needed.”

The project officially started on November 1st, 2021, and was previously slated to be finished by September 2022. However, the construction of the Merlino Center has faced lots of challenges. A 4-month series of concrete strikes, labor, supply chain issues, substantial delays in equipment, and inflation have delayed the building’s projected opening. The Merlino Center is now expected to be finished in February of 2023, but this date is subject to change.

The Merlino Center’s completion will significantly improve Prep athletics’ access to facilities and allow for flexible practice schedules. The building’s eventual finish will mark a new chapter in Prep athletics history.