Men's Gymnasium (Indiana University)
|Location||1025 E. 7th Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
|Capacity||2,400 (approx., former)|
The Men's Gymnasium (now part of the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington building) is an on-campus indoor athletic facility on the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. From 1917–1928 it also served as the home of the Indiana Hoosiers men's basketball team.
The Men's Gymnasium, more commonly referred to now as part of the School of Public Health-Bloomington building, is part of a complex for the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington, as well as the recreational programs offered by the school's Division of Recreational Sports. The Men's Gymnasium, together with the Wildermuth Intramural Center, make up the SPHB complex.
On January 19, 1917, the Indiana Hoosiers began playing in the Men's Gymnasium, a Gothic basketball cathedral. The team won their initial game against Iowa 12–7. The low score was attributed to both teams struggling to adjust to the new baskets in the arena.
The new facility was built from Indiana limestone and cost $250,000. In addition to the basketball portion, it included an indoor track, a pool, locker rooms, offices for athletics and staff, and a trophy room. The primary focal point of the facility was a 2,400-seat basketball arena on the second floor. It was simply called the new Men's Gymnasium, and for the first few years was often just called the "New Gym."
After the first few games spectators complained that they could not see the game because of opaque wooden backboards. The Nurre Mirror Plate Company in Bloomington was employed to create new backboards that contained one-and-a-half inch thick plate glass so that fans could see games without an obstructed view. It was the first facility in the country to use glass backboards.
Indiana's first All-American, Everett Dean, played in the facility. Later he returned as head coach for the team and won a Big Ten Conference championship in his second season in 1925–26. The basketball team's last season in the facility was in 1927–28, when the team again won the conference championship. Because of the growing popularity of basketball at the school, the team needed a larger arena to host games and moved to the Old Fieldhouse.
Some of the original tiles in the building contain the swastika symbol. A plaque in one wing reads as follows:
This wing of the School of Public Health-Bloomington building was built in 1917, before the Nazi party popularly adopted the swastika as its national symbol of world domination. This symbol has been found in many cultures through the world. At various times in history, it has been associated with agriculture and points of a compass, the action and origin of the universe, or the succession of the generations ... Only with the rise to power was the meaning of the swastika associated with abusive power and horrible domination. These tiles are not intended to be associated with such meanings. They were placed here with the original intent of wishing health and prosperity to all.
Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.