Staake Gymnasium - Babson Beavers
Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.86
Staake Gymnasium 3 Babson College Drive
Wellesley, MA 02481
Babson Beavers basketball website
Year Opened: 1989
Defend the Dam
Babson College is a private business school in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Founded in 1919, its focus is on entrepreneurship education. The school has an enrollment of over 3,600 students in its graduate and undergraduate programs. Babson College was recently ranked by CollegeFactual as the top college in Division III for combining academic and athletic success for student-athletes in basketball.
Babson’s 22 varsity teams are known as the Beavers and compete in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) of Division III. For a small school, Babson College has enjoyed a great amount of athletic success. In addition to three national titles in soccer, one in hockey and one in tennis, the Beavers captured the National Championship in basketball in 2017.
The Webster Center houses the indoor athletic facilities at Babson. It was named after former Toronto Blue Jays owner R. Howard Webster, class of 1932. In addition to the 650-seat Staake Gymnasium, other facilities here include the Morse Swimming Center, PepsiCo Pavilion, Lunder Fitness Center, Chandor Dance Studio, an indoor track, four squash courts, a racquetball court, varsity weight room, and athletic administration offices. The Staake Gymnasium is named in honor of Paul and Margaret Staake. Mr. Staake served as Babson Athletics Hall of Fame member and former Dean of Students and Vice President of Student Affairs.
Food & Beverage 1
There are no concessions available at Staake Gymnasium. It is unclear if this is due to Covid restrictions in place during Stadium Journey’s visit in January 2022 or if this is standard operation. Fans are able to bring in snacks to enjoy during the game.
The gameday presentation is pretty standard for a small school in a small gym with a small crowd. With crowds measuring in the hundreds, not thousands, you wouldn’t expect a rowdy atmosphere, and you won’t get one. Hoop heads won’t mind the low-key, comfortable vibe of Staake Gymnasium, where the game is the focus.
Watching some of the younger fans in attendance take over the court at halftime to shoot around was a touch you would never find at a larger facility.
Scoreboards are located on either end of the gym, providing basic game stats. Music plays over the arena speakers during play stoppages, with a PA announcer helping to keep things lively throughout the game. Check out the halls around the gym, where murals hang commemorating the Beavers’ 2017 National championship as well as all the other teams Babson College sponsors.
Babson College is located in Wellesley, MA, a town with a population of about 30,000 residents located 14 miles west of Boston. Along with Babson, Wellesley College and Massachusetts Bay Community College call Wellesley home.
Given Babson’s suburban location, there isn’t much in the immediate vicinity of campus to attract visiting fans. Wellesley Center, a few miles from campus, contains a number of restaurants and shops, but most out of town visitors will want to head into Boston to spend their time.
Babson annually averages about 300 fans per game, which is a fairly typical number for most smaller schools in the Boston area. While a crowd at a Beavers game could be considered a “friends and family” crowd, the personal connection the fans have with the players on the court ensure that the fans in attendance are really into the game.
There is a good turnout by Babson students and the compact geography of the NEWMAC Conference ensures that fans of visiting schools are often well represented as well.
Stadium Journey visited Staake Gymnasium in January of 2022, with Covid precautions in place. All spectators are required to present proof of immunization upon entry and to wear masks throughout the game.
Babson College is located in the Boston suburb of Wellesley, fourteen miles west of downtown Boston. Situated near the intersection of Interstates 95 and 90, the suburban campus is most easily accessed via Route 9.
Driving is the primary method to arrive at the Babson campus. Boston’s public transportation system (the “T”) does not serve Babson directly, but the Wellesley Hills commuter rail station is located a couple of miles from Babson, as is the Green Line’s Woodland station. Driving directions to campus, along with information on local hotels, can be found here.
Staake Gymnasium is located on the ground floor of the Webster Center on the western edge of the Babson College campus. Several parking lots are adjacent to the facility. Fans will enter on the second level of the Webster Center, where the mezzanine track and balconies overlooking the court are located. The main entrance to Staake Gymnasium is located on the ground floor. Seats consist of molded bleachers without backs and are located on either side of the court. There are no seats on either end of the court. Rest rooms are clean and large enough to handle a typical Beaver crowd.
Return on Investment 5
Admission to Beaver basketball games is free of charge. With free parking and no concessions on site, you will not spend a single cent at a Babson College basketball game. You will even be given a roster at no charge when you enter.
Banners hang along the far side of the court commemorating conference championships in many sports, 1,000-point scorers for both the men’s and women’s basketball teams, statistical leaders in several volleyball categories, along with Final Four appearances and a banner dedicated to the men’s basketball 2017 National Championship.
The Babson College Athletic Hall of Fame is located in the Webster Center. Plaques honoring the enshrined athletes line a wall outside of Staake Gymnasium.
The Babson Beavers are a regional athletic power, and the Staake Gymnasium provides a relaxed, low-key place to catch some affordable, quality hoops. This is another hidden gem to be found when you take a Stadium Journey off the beaten path.
Follow Paul Baker’s stadium journeys on Twitter and Instagram @PuckmanRI.