Source: University of Toledo Media Release
TOLEDO, OH - In its early days the University of Toledo's Memorial Field House hosted concerts by Simon & Garfunkel and Jimi Hendrix, talks by anthropologist Margaret Mead and civil rights activist Dick Gregory, Rocket basketball games featuring future NBA star Steve Mix and the first ever, and still running Holiday on Ice production on Christmas Day in 1943.
Soon, the building constructed in 1931 with its castle like turrets will reclaim its pivotal place in the life of UT students as home to 54 state-of-the-art classrooms, 70 faculty offices, a three-story central atrium, a 250-seat auditorium, a typography lab for studying the art of creating books, a foreign language lab, film viewing rooms and an educational incubator to develop innovative teaching methods.
A grand opening celebration for the renovated Memorial Field House and the third annual President's Backyard BBQ will be held Thursday, Sept. 18 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with a formal program at 12:30 p.m. in the Centennial Mall in front of the building's entrance.
The building's $27 million, 145,000 square feet renovation will open for classes in January 2009. BHDP Architecture of Cincinnati developed the design.
The University, known for its research in alternative energy and commitment to sustainability, is seeking LEED Silver certification for the Memorial Field House. More than 50 percent of construction debris has been recycled and otherwise diverted from landfills, including tons of concrete from the former gymnasium's bleachers that is now being utilized by Owens Community College for fire and police rescue scenario training.
New energy-efficient, automated heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems have been installed and a large skylight will allow sunlight to brighten the building. The building also houses a chill water plant that cools more than half of UT's campus.
Featured interior elements will include an "Academic Sidewalk" of terrazzo flooring leading a three story central "Town Square" space. Topped with a generously sized skylight, the "Town Square" will give the building's interior an open feeling and allow students and faculty to gather and socialize. Classrooms and labs have been designed with a focus on flexibility and state-of-the-art technology to accommodate the latest in teaching and learning methods. Hallway walls will be adorned with photos from past events including concerts, athletics events and commencements.
The building's Collegiate Gothic exterior features have been preserved, including its battlements along rooflines of the main entrance and a central bay window, which is a common Gothic feature. The existing Lannon stone façade will be refurbished and new double insulated replacement windows will replicate the original character of the building.
The Collegiate Gothic style reflected by the Memorial Field House and other campus buildings developed out of the work of famed Boston architect Ralph Adams Cram. The Late Gothic architecture of England and France formed the historical basis for the style, which today can be seen at many colleges and universities, including the University of Chicago and Duke and Princeton universities.