The Physical Education Building was constructed from 1948 to 1949 as part of the $2.5 million Varsity Expansion Program. Built at a cost of $235,000, the centre was designed by F. J. Martin and built by Shannon Brothers Construction. The frame of the building was constructed from a double RCAF hangar erected at Dafoe, probably in 1940, and subsequently moved to Saskatoon in 1948. The Physical Education Building was unofficially opened on 10 February, 1950 for the annual basketball game against the University of Alberta, which the Huskies lost 27-36.
The completion of the building meant that the University of Saskatchewan finally possessed a real physical education and athletics centre after decades of makeshift facilities. The Main Gym floor consisted of three basketball courts and six badminton courts. The main basketball floor was the only regulation size basketball floor in Saskatchewan at the time. The building also contained dressing rooms, lockers, showers, drying rooms, boxing and wrestling rooms, and space for offices. In 1959 a dance studio was added to the building.
A pool addition was built by Shoquist Construction from 1963 to 1964 for $898,254. The Pool Addition was designed by Black, Larson and McMillan. During the 1969-70 academic year major renovations and alterations were made to the building; an Office Addition was completed in 1988 by Dunmac General Contractors for $136,952. This addition was designed by Bergerman Solodre.
In April of 1960 Black, Larson, McMillan and Associates performed an architectural and structural appraisal of the building in preparation for expansion plans on the building. They advised that with proper maintenance the current building could be structurally sound for another 20 to 40 years. However, they warned that major renovations towards the end of this period would likely be required. Their recommendation at that time was that an entirely new complex be constructed at a cost of $2,180,000. The advantages of such a proposal were said to be obvious, as “ the building would be planned from construction in stages, to meet ultimate requirements. Proper segregation and flow would be incorporated into the building. Outside activities could be located conveniently to the building.” In short, the building could be built and designed to accommodate for the changing needs of the department over time. However, these recommendations were ignored in favour of extending the existing building, which was less expensive.
On 7 December, 1997 the University, acting on consulting Engineer's reports, determined that the Physical Education Centre was no longer structurally sound. Offices were moved from the building within hours and relocated to the Williams Building on Cumberland Avenue, and the building was partially demolished in 1998.
A new Kinesiology Building attached to the remnants of the old Physical Education Building is presently being constructed. To be called the Kinesiology Physical Activity Complex, the new building was tendered in November of 2001, with construction commencing in early February, 2002. The facility is expected to open in August of 2003, and will cost approximately $33 million. It was designed by the architectural firm of Friggstad, Downing, Henry.
Athletic facilities in the new building will feature a triple gym with seating for about 2,500, four convertible racquetball/squash courts, a walk/jog track overlooking the gym, a 14,000 square foot Fit Centre, a rock climbing wall in the main foyer, a dance studio, gymnastics facilities, a high-ceilinged galleria and expanded locker facilities. The new building includes five classrooms, a lecture theatre, and state-of-the-art laboratories. It will attach directly to the existing building and swimming pool and is to include a renovation of the current locker space once the expansion is completed. A link attaching the building to the Administration Addition is also planned after construction is completed.
|1.||Fonds 2001.4, B-41, 21: “Architectural and Structural Appraisal, Physical Education Requirements, University of Saskatchewan, April, 1960 by Black, Larson McMillan And Associates, Architects–Engineers, Black Block, Regina, SK.”|