The $2.4 million Helfaer Tennis Stadium and Recreation Center met a major need on campus, as all athletic activities had been concentrated in the Clybourn Street gymnasium since the end of World War I. Designed primarily for individual and intramural sports and physical recreation, the new structure included six tennis courts; a swimming pool; handball, squash and basketball courts; an exercise room; and locker, shower, and sauna facilities. Construction began on April 15, 1974 and the building was completed on January 10, 1975, just 183 working days from start to finish. The building opened to the public on January 15, 1975.
Named for Evan P. Helfaer, a Milwaukee native whose $2 million gift made the building possible. From 1932-1957, Helfaer served as president of Lakeside Laboratories and guided the pharmaceutical firm to a position of international prominence. In total, Helfaer gave Marquette more than $4 million in support of projects such as the recreation center, a campus theater, and equipment for two floors in the chemistry building.
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