Worthington Arena

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Brick Breeden Fieldhouse/Worthington Arena
"The Brick"
BrickBreedenFieldhouse.jpg
Former names MSC Fieldhouse
MSU Fieldhouse
Location 1 Bobcat Circle
Bozeman, Montana 59717
Broke ground 1955
Opened January 11, 1957
Owner Montana State University
Operator Montana State University
Surface Tartan (sectional wood floor for basketball)
Construction cost $1.6 Millon[1]
($13.4 million in 2014 dollars[2])
Architect Wilson & Berg[3]
Capacity 8,900 (Concerts)[4]
7,250 (Basketball)
3,800 (theater)
Tenants
MSU Bobcats (NCAA)

Worthington Arena inside the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse is a 7,250.[5]-seat multi-purpose arena in Bozeman, Montana. It is the home of the Montana State University (MSU) Bobcats men's and women's basketball teams and the Bobcat's indoor track and field teams. The building also hosts numerous tournaments, concerts, plays, speaking engagements, and trade shows throughout the year and annually hosts the Montana High School Association All Class State Volleyball Tournament and the MSU Spring Rodeo. The arena hosted the Big Sky Conference Men's Basketball Tournament finals in 1988, 1996, and 2002, and the Big Sky Conference Women's Basketball Tournament in 1993.

History[edit]

The building was the inspiration of architect Oswald "Ozzie" Berg Jr. and Montana State College (MSC) President Roland Renne, who dreamed of an indoor facility large enough for college football games. Though there was not enough funding to build it big enough to house a full sized football field, the Fieldhouse was, at the time of construction, the largest clear span wooden structure in the world[6] (it has since been surpassed by other buildings such as the Walkup Skydome in Flagstaff, Arizona and the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington).

It opened in 1957 as the MSC Fieldhouse.[7] The building was renamed the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse in 1981, in honor of John "Brick" Breeden, and the arena inside was named Worthington Arena in 1985 in honor of Max Worthington. Breeden and Worthington were members of the 1929 "Golden Bobcats" basketball team that was named national champions by the Helms Foundation. Breeden would go on to coach the Bobcats basketball team and serve as athletic director, and Worthington, also a former coach, served as a school administrator and longtime booster.[8]

In 1960, the arena was host to a National Boxing Association middleweight title bout between Gene Fullmer and Joey Giardello. It was the first title bout held in Montana since the infamous Jack Dempsey vs. Tommy Gibbons bout that bankrupted the small town of Shelby, Montana in 1923. With a national television broadcast guarantee of $100,000 and a sold out crowd of 12,122 in attendance, the fight, which was declared a draw, was a tremendous financial success.[9]

Rodeo[edit]

The College National Finals Rodeo was annually held in the Fieldhouse from 1970-1996 with the exeception of 1979 when it was held in Lake Charles, Louisiana.[10] MSU's annual Spring Rodeo takes place in the arena in April.

Renovations[edit]

Originally, the main floor of the arena was dirt. A portable raised basketball court was assembled in the center of the space and wooden boardwalks led spectators from the entrance to the concession stand and bleachers. Basketball players were obliged to wipe their feet after emerging from the dressing rooms and before stepping up to the court. In 1980, the entire arena floor was covered with a hard tartan type surface and new folding bleachers were installed on the main level. Other than the new floor, the facility changed very little in the first 40 years of its existence.[11]

Inside Worthington Arena

In 1998 a $13.2 million renovation was completed that transformed the building into a modern multi-purpose arena. A new main entrance was constructed on the south side that brings spectators into the arena at the mezzanine level. Elevators and other features were added to make the building handicapped accessible. Old bleacher and chairback seats were replaced. The building's mechanical systems were upgraded, and additional fire, life-safety, and seismic features were added to bring the building up to modern codes. The renovation also featured new administrative and coaches offices, locker room improvements, better concession stands, new reception areas, and a new Hall of Fame. The arena can be converted quickly from athletic events to concerts, to theater performances.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Funding the Fieldhouse
  2. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  3. ^ "Montana Historic Property Record". montanahistoricalsociety.org. Montana Historical Society. Retrieved February 11, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Facility Information". Montana State University. Retrieved 2010-02-16. 
  5. ^ Basketball game preview
  6. ^ Rollie's Folly
  7. ^ 50th anniversary section of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle
  8. ^ Naming the fieldhouse
  9. ^ AP newspaper account of the fight
  10. ^ CNFR Past Champions
  11. ^ Renovation
  12. ^ "Facility Information". Montana State University. Retrieved 2010-02-16. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 45°39′48″N 111°03′02″W / 45.663295°N 111.050599°W / 45.663295; -111.050599