Of concrete and steel construction, the gymnasium was constructed in 1921-1922 on the foundation of a mess hall used for SATC troops during World War I. A one-story addition was added to the west wing in 1947-1948 to provide space for the naval ROTC unit; a second floor was added to the west wing for the exclusive use of the naval ROTC in the summer of 1954. At the time of its opening, the gym housed the football, basketball, hockey and track teams as well as accommodating the intramural sports program; the freshman class had physical education at the gymnasium for two hours a week. Until the mid-1940s, the basement of the gymnasium housed two handball nets, three horseshoe “lanes,” two volleyball courts and a union store. The men’s basketball team used the gym as their home court until the 1956 season. Over the years, the gymnasium has been used for a variety of campus activities, including convocations, registration for classes, and campus social activities like Campus Carnival and Varsity Varieties. The opening of the Helfaer Recreation and Tennis Center in 1975 and the Al McGuire Center in 2003 provided relief to the increasing demands for space and court time in the building. The facility now serves as home for the soccer, tennis, cross country, track and field, and golf teams and the army and navy ROTC programs.
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