by Nathan Hall
Although Concordia is celebrating its 100th anniversary, physical fitness facilities have only been on campus since the beginning of construction on June 1, 1952. The original proposed building, now known as Alumni Hall, had a gymnasium, stage and balcony with total dimensions of 110 x 66 feet. This was a tremendous new building for the campus and an attractive addition for students to have in their college experience!
This building was a welcome addition until tragedy struck on February 4, 1978. Most likely due to an electrical malfunction, a fire broke out in the building and the whole place went up in flames. This horrible accident caused $750,000 worth of damage (about $3,000,000 today with inflation). But with the symbol of the Phoenix as their example the Concordia community determined to rise from the ashes of this catastrophic event and rebuild. Although the rebuilding of Alumni Hall at that time did not include a gymnasium, we have been blessed since 1997 with a fantastic building, the Ralph King Athletic Centre, that houses not only a Gymnasium but also the Faculty of Education.
For me personally, this is a tremendous example of faith, determination and foresight from the past leaders of our university. In researching the history of the present athletics building, I have a greater appreciation for what we currently have. I have used the weight room every week that I could in both my undergraduate degree and my current after-degree program, for both physical fitness and mental wellness.
This building has also been a source of school spirit due to the athletic events that have taken place inside its walls. I have attended games and assisted in setting up and running events, as well as being the source of additional entertainment in all possible aspects as the mascot for many years.
The Ralph King Athletic Centre may not have been around as long as Schwermann Hall, but it may as well have been, because it is just as important as the rest, according to this Hall.
I am currently in my last semester of the After-Degree Education Program but I also did my undergrad at Concordia where I majored in Drama and had a double minor in Music and Education. I plan on graduating in May, after which my wife and I are moving to British Columbia. The current plan is to teach high school, hopefully a theatre or music program, ideally both.
Concordia’s CUE 100 committee is very excited to feature the written work of several students and alumni as part of its centenary celebrations. As these celebrations continue, you can look forward to reading short articles by these writers on interesting aspects of Concordia’s history over the past century. Writers were given access to archival documents on particular topics which they were asked to summarize and personally respond to. You’ll be able to discover much about Concordia’s history and how it still resonates among us today. We hope you find these articles both informative and entertaining. Happy 100, Concordians!