Excavation for the foundation of the Memorial Field House at Springfield College, 1947
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In this photograph, an excavator and a truck are working on the ground where the Memorial Field House is being erected. The photograph was most likely taken before the summer of 1947. It is the very beginning of the reconstruction of the field house on the campus of Springfield College. The controller of excavator is removing the soil and then is going to pour the soil into the truck. The Memorial Field House was originally used as a basic training facility by the US Navy at Sampson, New York. In 1946, Springfield College qualified for the drill hall through Public Law 697, a law that distributed war time surplus for civilian use, and the government disassembled and transported the building to Springfield College. The field house was opened on February 21, 1948. On that day the first basketball game was held in the new arena, with Springfield College playing Providence College. William R. Chase, a member of the first group of men to play basketball in 1891, tossed the ceremonial first ball. The building was divided into three sections: the Gymnasium area, the Arena area, and the Class and Game Room area. The Gymnasium area is 140 x 80 feet of permanent maple flooring and could accommodate 5 volleyball, or 9 badminton, or 3 basketball courts, or some combination of the three courts. The Arena area comprises 230 feet of open earth surface for field events and had the ability up to accommodate 4000 spectators at public events and basketball games. The Class and Game Room area has spaces for offices and temporary classrooms which could also be converted to specialized game rooms for boxing, wrestling, fencing, and calisthenics. The building was demolished in 1979 due to the fact that the wood arch could not meet minimum building code requirements. A new Physical Education Complex replaced the Memorial Field House, and was formally dedicated on October 30, 1981. The photograph was taken before the foundations were laid, and the controller was wearing a sweater, so it was probably taken at the end of the winter or during the spring of 1947.
|Springfield College Archives and Special Collections|
Memorial Field House
International Young Men's Christian Association College
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