There are still some schools that play in their vintage gymnasiums, and many others at which the old gymnasium is a memory. But when I see one or learn about one, I always make it a point to stop by, if I can get in.
Heck, sometimes I just stumble across one. I did that at Amherst tonight. Do it at enough campuses and you can begin to tell from the outside. I was hoping to at Wesleyan last week but the place has been torn down.
Small gyms — perhaps 94 feet in length but not always. Lots of history, not much space. Now they’re intramural gyms and practice gyms, and that’s OK.
The old gym was gone at my alma mater by the time I arrived. It was an early 20th century armory, converted into a gymnasium after World War I, then into student architecture studios in the ’80s. That wasn’t a bad use. But when I got to see vintage gyms at Hampden-Sydney and especially Randolph-Macon, it made me wonder what I missed.
Randolph-Macon’s is exactly what you’d expect. The old scoreboard is still high on the wall. The gym is connected to the current gymnasium. It has a track ringing the top and everything. Looks like it came straight out of 1921. Hampden-Sydney’s old gym is still around on campus as well. And shoot, Macalester is still playing in its old gym, for a little while at least.
What has your campus done with its old gym?