A generous gift of $8.3 million from a Colby family will name the basketball arena for the planned new $200 million, 350,000-square-foot complex. athletic complex and provide important funds to accelerate the pace of progress at the College.

The gift from Trustee Jim Crook (Class of 1978, P ’11) and Andrea Crook (P’11) also includes $500,000 for Colby’s annual fund.

“The Crooks know from firsthand experience the important lessons learned from being part of teams that prevail in the most competitive environments,” said Colby President David A. Greene in a release.

He was referring to Jim Crook’s basketball team in the 1970s, their daughter Lexi’s lacrosse team, which consistently made the NCAA Sweet 16, and their family’s professional success.

“We want our students to learn what it takes to be successful in academics and athletics and throughout their lives in whatever their chosen field. Jim and Andrea share our commitment to reigniting the winning spirit and tradition at Colby,” Greene added.

Colby’s plans for an all-new athletic complex call for it to be among the best in Division III athletics.

“My generation of athletes walked into that athletic complex and we’d never seen anything like it,” said Jim Crook, who played several successful seasons for legendary coaches Dick Whitmore and John “Swisher” Mitchell. “I learned more from losing as a result of knowing what it’s like to win,” he said, “and I want Colby’s current and future students to have a competitive experience like the one Lexi and I enjoyed.”

When Whitmore announced his retirement, Crook and other basketball alumni — Chris Vickers ’87, P’21, Matt Hancock ’90, P’19, and Chad Higgins ’97 — created a legacy fund named for Whitmore and supported by basketball alumni and others. This spring Crook spearheaded an effort to raise funds from fellow alumni to endow the assistant basketball coach position in the name of Mitchell.

Construction of three new fields for competition and practice are underway and site preparation will begin soon on the complex, which will be located on Campus Drive west of the existing athletic facility. The new complex will also welcome many teams and groups from the Waterville community and across Maine.