Women's Athletic Building


Women's Athletic Building


The Women's Athletic Building on Palmer Field was built in 1928 as part of the program in physical education for women undertaken by the University Board in Control of Physical Education two years earlier. For some years the athletic activities of the women of the University had been centered at Palmer Field, an uneven and rather hilly tract of land south of the hospitals and the Observatory. With the development of the extensive athletic program for the entire University, which took place with the construction of the Stadium and the Intramural Sports Building, provision was made for the women by leveling Palmer Field and building a suitable field house on it.

The Women's Athletic Building, on Forest Avenue, at the east end of North University Avenue, was constructed at a total cost of $154,000. It had two stories and a basement, and a floor area of 27,387 square feet. Designed by the Ann Arbor architects, Fry and Kasurin, it was built of red brick with white pillars at the front, in a simple Georgian style. The building was used as an athletic club, where social occasions could be combined with active sports participation. The terrace which overlooked the playing fields was provided with colorful umbrellas, tables, and chairs.

The first floor housed the main office for the distribution of sports equipment, the main lockers, dressing rooms, showers, and the equipment-storage room. In the basement was a four-lane bowling alley, a sixty-foot rifle range, and ten indoor golf cages.

Arden Jervey (The University of Michigan: An Encyclopedic Survey, p. 1587)



A view from the Terrace looking toward Couzen's Hall

Women's Physical Education




In April of 1973 the Regents approved a student fee allocation to finance two new recreational buildings, the Central Campus Recreation Building at 401 Washtenaw and the North Campus Recreational Facility. An increased demand for modern recreational facilities led to this approval of new recreation buildings for both the Central and the North Campuses. The two buildings were authorized for construction in June of 1974, at a combined cost of $7,700,000. The Central Campus building was connected to the Women's Swimming Pool building which was built in 1954 and renamed the Margaret Bell Pool in May of 1966. The Central Campus facility was completed by Spence Brothers Construction Company in July of 1976 at a cost of $4,800,000 and with the pool building provided 182,088 gross square feet of excellent intramural sports space. The aging and inadequate Women's Athletic Building was demolished in 1974 to clear a site for the 132,956-square-foot Central Campus building which would allow it to be built adjacent to Palmer Field and to connect with the Margaret Bell Pool. Alden B. Dow Associated, Inc. designed the facility, available to both men and women. It includes 11 handball and 6 squash courts, a large gymnasium with a one-eighth-mile jogging track.

(The University of Michigan: An Encyclopedic Survey, Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer>Physical Properties>Buldings, p. 68)