Citation: James D. Harvey, ed., Pursuit 4, no. 3 (November 1971): 35.
Baldwin-Wallace College dedicated the new Ray E. Watts Athletic Center August 18, in honor of the alumnus and late athletic director.
Watts Center will serve as the hub of the B-W athletic program, housing coaches' offices, classrooms, a Letterman's lounge, audio-visual rooms, ticket offices, and a lab and lounge for men and women HPE majors.
The Center, formerly the Alumni House, is located adjacent to the Ursprung Health and Physical Education Building.
Ray Watts '33, who coached football at the College from 1928 to 1949, became athletic director in 1932. He also coached baseball until 1936 and basketball until 1958. He was athletic director until 1960 and professor emeritus from 1960 to 1968.
Citation: Updated B-W History, n.d.
In 1972, Baldwin-Wallace dedicated the Ray E. Watts Athletic Center to be used as the headquarters for the college's athletic department. Constructed as the Phi Kappa Phi fraternity house in 1932, and formerly the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity house and Alumni House, the building had been moved from the north sided of Bagley rd. to the south side. The building was located at 130 E. Bagley Rd., adjacent to the Ursprung Health and Physical Education Building. The center contained coaches' offices, classrooms, a letterman's lounge, audio-visual rooms, ticket offices, and a lab and lounge for men and women H.P.E. majors.
The Watts Athletic Center was also the home of the Baldwin-Wallace Athletic Archives. The Athletic Archives were opened on Homecoming Day, October 24, 1981, with a special display in recognition of the 20th reunion of the undefeated, untied 1961 Yellow Jacket Football Team. The archives included many interesting items including scrapbooks from the 20's, the 30's, and the 40's, and many unusual pictures including some from the very early years. Among the most interesting materials were clippings of the 35-36 era and the 1978 National Championship team coached by Lee Tressel. Displays also included items of interest from all sports.
In 1984, Baldwin-Wallace considered moving or razing the historic building because it did not fit into the context of the site proposed for the $6 million Recreation Center. A proposal was discussed with the City of Berea to sell the 54 year-old building to the city for one dollar. It was to be moved near the Berea city Hall to be used as a civic center for the community. Although a tentative agreement was reached, the City council rejected two ordinances that would have allowed the city to buy and move the building. The was also a plan in 1984 to connect the Watts Building with the Ursprung Gymnasium. Ultimately, the building was torn to provide room for the new Recreation Center to be built around the Ursprung Gymnasium.
Coach Ray Watts' successful athletic career began in 1928 when he joined the college faculty on a part-time basis as football coach. He earned his bachelor of science degree from Baldwin-Wallace in 1933. For thirty-two years, he served as a professor of Health and Physical Education, upgrading the H.P .E. program and the athletic program. As a coach and athletic director, he promoted the building of a swimming pool, gymnasium, football field, cinder track, and stadium which earned his name. In addition, he was also the basketball coach for twenty-three years, earning several Ohio Athletic conference titles. Coach Watts received the 1960 Alumni Award, and was inducted into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame in 1962. In 1965, he became one of the initial three inductees of the Baldwin-Wallace Letterman's Hall of Fame.
Early this week, the wrecker's crane was wheeled into place and the concrete walls, wooden pressbox and metal rails of Ray E. Watts stadium began to crash to the ground. The structure which had stood for 13 years and had another 87 years (at least) of life left in its cement soul entered the initial phases of its transformation from an utilitarian if somewhat unattractive building to crushed landfill.
People talked. Students voiced the opinion that they were opposed to the construction of a new stadium. Numerous faculty members took the time to convey their negative sentiments on the proposed structure to staff members. Rumblings of discontent were even detected from select administrators and alumni. We heard fewer than a dozen people speak favorably about the stadium. Yet despite the rethoric, the iron ball started swinging.
It has been stated that Baldwin-Wallace doesn't know what apathy is, and doesn't care. Concerning far too many topics and issues, this has been the unfortunate truth. However, the tone of this institution has been changing. The B-W community has shown signs of entering a metamorphasis from a drinking fraternity to an intellectual society. But despite the interest generated by the stadium issue, throughout the entire B-W family, the demise of the existing structure and subsequent construction of new facilities was not halted nor was its timetable upset.
What was lacking in the light to save the old stadium - not owing to any sugar-sweet sentimentalism for old Watts bin out of a regard for the sheer poor planning and misallocation of much-needed funds during a period of financial dearth for educational institutions - was leadership. For as much as people grumbled, student Senate did not take a stand, no one administrator rose to the occasion to oppose the new structure and no faculty group challanged the almighty planning board. Even the Exponent (the ex-officio voice of Baldwin-Wallace) sent up only a whimper when it should have yelled.
It’s too late now to save Ray E. Watts and the million and a half for the new stadium. (Part of which we admit could only be spent for a new stadium). All the 20-20 hindsight we cast on the stadium issue will do nothing to correct this blunder. Rehashing the stadium issue does, however, leave us with a hope; a hope that the unchanneled and unaccustomed awareness by students and faculty will soon find articulate advocates and leaders. If it doesn't Ray E. Watts will happen again.
The new stadium will be entirely paid for by outside contributions, according to Jim Harvey, vice-president of college relations.
Harvey stated that no student funds, neither tuition nor activity fees funneled through the athletic department, will be a part of the estimated cost of $I.30 million.
A breakdown of contributions at this point include $600,000 in several large gifts, $250,000 from an anonymous donor, plus another quarter of a million pledged by the Alumni Lettermen Association to pay for the astroturf which will be a part of the new bowl stadium.
In the event that no more stadium patrons offer additional funds, Harvey feels that a long-term lucrative arrangement with the Berea Board of Education for parttime rental of the stadium will pay the remaining debt.
Harvey also noted that none of the contributors would have given money in any other area, nor in conjunction with any other part of the current 125th Anniversary Fund Drive.
"We were approached by many of the people when they learned of the stadium, with gifts specifically for the stadium."
Although officially part of the three -ear anniversary campaign for $6 million, stadium contributors are not part of the general fund, though the figures are added to the total. In effect, two separate campaigns are being held undergone name to save the con fusion of running simultaneous ones. The total of the two campaigns is $7.3 million.
Citation: Updated B-W History, n.d.
On May 23, 1957, the old athletic stadium at Baldwin-Wallace was burned to make room for a new facility. The 22 year-old stadium was replaced with a $155,000 stadium seating 5,000 people in the western stands. Temporary stands on the eastern side could hold an additional 5,000. A press box and equipped locker rooms were included in the new stadium. Only the lighting, scoreboard, and refreshment stand remained from the old stadium. 6,000 square yards of patented Windsor Sod were laid for the surface of the new field. B-W was the first football field to have this surface, which was state-of-the-art at the time. The field was completed for the first home game on October 5, 1957. The Berea School Board also renewed its contract to rent the facility at $7,000 a year for football, track, and other events.
The stadium, located on Bagley Rd., was named in honor of Ray E. Watts, a long time professor, coach and athletic director at B-W. His coaching career in football, basketball, and baseball began in 1928, and he served as Athletic Director from 1932 until 1960. He also continued as professor emeritus from 1960 to 1968. In 1961, four years after the athletic field was named for him, Coach Watts was inducted into the 30 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics football Hall of Fame. He was a 1965 inductee into the B-W Hall of Fame.
The Ray E. Watts Athletic Field was torn down in 1971 in preparation for the construction of the George Finnie Stadium, which serves the college today.
Citation: Updated B-W History, n.d.
The Recreation Center was dedicated as part of the Homecoming celebration on Saturday, October 18, 1986. The athletic facility was build around the R.S. Ursprung Gymnasium, built in 1949. The Rec. Center complex was built at a cost of $15,000,000.
The 150,000 square foot Center incorporates 110,000 square feet of new space and 40,000 square feet derived from the renovation of the Rudolph S. Ursprung Gymnasium, built in 1949. The Ursprung Gymnasium, as the center piece, is used for men's and women's basketball, volleyball, and many other activities including commencement. The back was of the gym was removed to open the facility to the new fieldhouse area. A massive mechanical curtain was installed that can be raised or lowered to divide the track from the gym. The areas under the east stands have been converted to athletic training and four locker rooms. The west side houses the equipment room, four locker rooms, and adjoins the racquetball area. The main Bagley Rd. entrance houses the Ray Watts Lobby, and trophy cases. The athletic archives are located north of the gym, near the entrance area, with a concession area located on the east side. The archives contain an extensive collection of B-W athletic tradition and feature exhibits on various athletes and athletes.
The facility has a six-lane 200 meter indoor track constructed of Mondo, considered to be the fastest running surface made. The track is named in honor of Harrison Dillard, a 1949 B-W graduate. Dillard, coached by legendary B-W coach Eddie Finnigan, won gold medals in the 1948 London Olympics in the 100 yard dash and the 4x 100 yard relay. He went on the win to more Olympics in Stockholm in the 110 yard high hurdles and 4x 100 yard relay, as well as winning 82 consecutive races and setting 17 world and national records in his events. The track is used for men and women's track practice and meets, as well as student and faculty recreation. Within the dimensions of the track, are three modular courts with a rubber surface that can be used for basketball, volleyball, tennis, and other activities.
The fitness room and weight room are adjacent areas in the west end of the building. The weight room contains free weights, dumbbells, and free weight equipment. The fitness room includes Nautilus machines, Universal gyms, exercise bikes, stair climbers, and treadmills.
The six-lane, 25 yard pool, used for recreation and competition, is equipped with a 60-ton movable floor that can be raised to the surface for easy entry for the handicapped, elderly, and small children. The moveable end of the floor lowers to a depth of four feet, and the stationary end reaches a depth of thirteen feet. The facility has a one meter diving board and seating for 200. The pool is also equipped with two locker rooms.
The dance studio, named for Mildred Sackett, is a 6,000 square floor area featuring a floating floor used to cushion jumps and falls. The facility is used for dance instruction and various health and physical education classes.
There are five racquetball/handball courts available for use. One court is located in the lobby area of the Recreation Center, below floor level, surrounded by glass, with an observation area for tournaments or class instruction. The are four enclosed courts with second floor observation decks. The courts are also used for health and physical education classes as well as intramural and club events.
Within the dimensions of the track, are three modular courts with a rubber surface that can be used for basketball, volleyball, tennis, and other activities. There is also a multipurpose room that can be used for wresting practice, dance, aerobics, and classes.
The second floor houses coaches, professors and administrative offices, which are also located on the first floor. The dance studio, pool and racquetball observations decks, locker rooms, lounges, and classrooms are all located the second floor. The Tressel Lounge overlooks the fieldhouse. It was named in honor of Coach Lee Tressel, who's 1978 football team won the NCAA Division III National Championship. He was also inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
The lobby area of the Rudolph S. Ursprung Gymnasium is the site of the Baldwin-Wallace Athletic Archives, maintained by Mrs. Eloise Tressel. The archives showcase the strong and rich tradition of Baldwin-Wallace athletics. The displays include tributes to legendary coaches, such as Lee Tressel and Paul "Sparky" Adams, B-W Lettermen, as well as successful teams and individuals, including Harrison Dillard and others. B-W memorabilia from various eras in the College's long athletic history are also on display. The archive center contains a workroom in addition to the display area where displays can be created, and where files and materials can be stored.
Citation: "Bach Festival History 2007 Brochure," n.d.
The Riemenschneider Bach Institute (RBI) serves as the guardian of the Riemenschneider Bach Library, a collection of 20,000-plus Bach-oriented archival materials, manuscripts, first editions, and scores housed at Baldwin-Wallace College. The Institute library is the result of years of painstaking collecting in Europe and elsewhere by Albert Riemenschneider. The RBI includes many rare items in its Emmy Martin Collection of first-edition scores; the Riemenschneider Graduate Library Collection; the Hans T. David Collection of books, manuscripts, archival items, and scores (including a number of first-edition scores); and the opera-oriented Tom Villella collection of phonodiscs, books, archival materials, and memorabilia Thanks to the recently-established Martha Goldsworthy Arnold Visiting fellows program, scholars have come to work in this non-circulating library from Austria, Italy, Ireland, and other countries.
Citation: “Ritter Library, new residence hall to be ready for opening of 1959-60 fall quarter classes, Sept. 28,” Baldwin-Wallace College News Letter 27, no. 1 (1959): p. 1.
Baldwin-Wallace's new Ritter Library will be open to the student body on the first day of classes, Sept. 28. Formal dedication ceremonies will be held on Founder's Day (See page 3), Oct. 15.
The building, which will contain some 75,000 volumes and can accommodate as many as 140,000, is now nearing interior completion with the installation of furniture and three-and-one- half miles of steel shelving.
Named in honor of Dr. George W. Ritter, a B-W trustee, and his wife whose initial gifts made possible the beginning of the library, it has been under construction since Oct., 1957….
Jacob is New Librarian
The new librarian in charge of the three-story structure is Emerson D. Jacob, formerly of Michigan State University. Jacob calls the building's outstanding feature, "General arrangement with potential self-service. It is perfect for this kind of college."
Concerning the arrangement, the new librarian said that books and other aids would be posted and shelved to further enhance the self-service feature which he feels is so important.
"We will post signs, floor-plans, and pictures of the building so the students can familiarize themselves with it and its facilities as quickly as possible.
Includes an Auditorium These facilities include three seminar rooms, a smoking lounge, restrooms, a browsing area, a music room, an auditorium with a projection room and seating for approximately 125 persons, and a special room for the world-famous Bach Collection.
Jacob and his staff, which includes four other professional librarians, four full-time clerical assistants, one part-time aide, and several student helpers, also will have offices and cataloging rooms on the main floor.
The Philura Gould Baldwin Library will become an annex and will house the Methodist Historical collection and other special collections.
Library Fund reaches $750,000
The Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co. has made another gift of $10,000 to the Ritter Library, according to Gerald S. Wellman, B-W vice president for development, and Lee C. Howley, C.E.I. vice president and chairman of the company's contribution committee.
The grant, C.E.l.'s second $10,000 contribution in two years, raised the library fund to $750,000 or three-fourths of the million-dollar goal.
Gerald Wellman. Vice-President for Development at B-W, predicts that new Business Administration Building and the Women's Health and Physical Education facilities will be completed within the next three years. Also in the long-range plans of the College is a new library wing. Wellman, speaking for the Administration, recognizes the need in these departments and believes that "good facilities nourish good scholarship."
The Business Administration building will most likely he located where Ott Memorial now sits. The location of the Women's HPE facilities will depend on the land that can he purchased for practice fields.
The estimated cost of the Business Administration building is $1,000.000. The estimate for the Women's HPE facility is $650,000. However, these are only guesses until definite plans are received from the architect. But Mr. Wellman assures the students and faculty that the buildings and facilities will be adequate for the department's needs.
A committee, consisting of student Bruce Donald, faculty members Dr. Lappert, Dr. Smith, and Dr. Scharf, along with the Development Office met to chart out and make recommendations for the next ten years. Last week they submitted a report to the chairman of the Long Range Planning Committee, Dr. Richard Miller. It included the library wing, the Business Administration Building and the Women's HPE facilities.
The committee put an emphasis in their report on faculty needs and endowment. President Bonds has asked the architect to prepare preliminary sketches for the Business Administration Building and the Library Wing. A decision has already been made "to conduct an intensive fund-raising effort" which will coincide with B-W's 125th Anniversary.
Citation: James D. Harvey, ed., "Major Library Improvement," Pursuit 3, no. 3 (November 1970): 2.
Ritter Library, which after 12 years of use has proven its value as a sound investment, today needs improvements which can enhance its key role in the academic program as well as in its use by the community. Among improvements considered essential are carpeting, some minimal room renovation to provide more shelving for books, air conditioning to make it practical for use during summer school sessions, and special temperature-controlled areas for the Riemenschneider-David Bach collection and other valuable exhibits.
Ritter Library, B-W's facility for studying, research, browsing, and socializing, began renovation the past week. Many reasons account for the physical changes under way.
According to Pat Scanlan, Director of Ritter Library; there are immediately available funds granted specifically for this purpose. These funds are available through benefactors Charles E. and Mary Jane Spahr. Also funding the project are the Board of Trustees to B-W.
Another pressing reason for the changes are the long range needs. Updating the facilities and services are definitely needed. Also, Federal Law requires an accessible entrance and bathroom for the handicapped. It also requires a fire exit leading down from the top floor directly outside. Pressures from all three factors helped instigate the project.
The construction will begin on the outside. Workmen have already begun removing steps from the present west entrance. This entrance will be changed to the north side of Ritter, facing the quad. Onto the west side, an extra room will be added. The new "handicapped" elevator will be located in it. Installing the required elevator without this new section would be impossible. The addition will face Carnegie and will house the new circulation desk.
Internal refurbishing includes rearranging the entire main floor. Most of the work is to be done here. The plan is for more space and a better study atmosphere. Scanlan said, "We want to open up the area. Right now, it's quite crowded," To do this, the card catalog cabinet will be removed, creating more space. The present catalog system will be replaced by a computerized system.
On the main floor, what is now the computer area will be changed to make way for a Student Conference Room. The circulation desk will be moved from this area to add more space.
The periodicals section will be rearranged. That area will become the "Charles E. and Mary Jane Spahr Learning & Resource Center."
On the lower floor, a "student lounge will be added, in the front part of the Library.
A major part of the renovation includes a new catalouging system. Scanlan feels the new system will "save both time and money." With it, one can refer to an alphabetical listing in the computer in just seconds. According to Pursuit magazine, the COM system, as it is called, shows how the "access to information" becomes more important with time. The new COM system will be a great advancement for libraries internationally.
The COM project hopes to bring about more efficiency. However, there are fears of the "bibliophile's hangout being eliminated.” According to Scanlan, this should and will not happen. "Videotape added a fourth dimension to the book's sensory impact, by making the printed page come alive... " Electricity will not extinguish the book, but rather expand upon its uses. Scanlan feels that any library which does not "take full advantage of such technological advances," or which does not plan to soon do so, is. "remiss in its library obligation to the public."
Finally Scanlan says that "by the year 2000, libraries will have assimilated modern technology in traditional formats, function; and services resulting in libraries congruent with Information needs: and desires of the twenty-first century."
Funding for this new cataloging system is allocated along with the rest of the restoration project. In addition, upkeep will be much less expensive, under the new system, it will cost eight cents to ten cents per new acquisition, acquisitions under the present system cost ten times as much.
Added Scanlan about the COM project, "We are making tremendous progress."
Dr. Scanlan would be glad to answer any inquiries regarding the renovation program.
At present, the renovation will be limited to the exterior of the building. The interior refurbishing will begin after graduation in June. Scanlan hopes to have both the renovation and the COM system ready for the start of Fall quarter 1980. He did say there'd be some massive Inconveniences/ but nothing to prevent anyone from completing term papers, "just noises.”
Objectives in making this change are to "give B-W a modern library, visually and functionally modern.''
Citation: Updated B-W History, n.d.
The groundbreaking for Ritter Library on Saturday, October 18, 1956. Work was begun in 1957, and the cornerstone was put in place on October 18, 1958 by Dr. and Mrs. George W. Ritter. Memorabilia for the students and faculty of 1958 were placed in the cornerstone. The library was dedicated on Founder's Day, Thursday, October 15, 1958. On that date, a Living Memorial was dedicated to the memory of Philura Gould Baldwin, the college's first librarian.
With student enrollment at 1,400 the decision was made to build a new library, as the old Baldwin Library had room for fifty students and 60,000 volumes.
The Ritter Library is a three-story, sandstone and steel structure costing 1,036,000 to build. The building was designed by Mellenbrook, Foley, and Scott, and was constructed by the R.S. Ursprung Co. The library was capable of holding 200,000 books.
The Ground Floor contained a spacious faculty lounge - special conference room, for faculty or board of trustees meetings. There was also the Wesley Auditorium designed to seat 120 people adaptable for showing movies or slides and could be used for receptions or exhibits. It was adjoined by a kitchenette. Open shelved bookcases and study area, the boiler room and maintenance area was found on this lower level. The auditorium area is currently used for book storage and the office of the College Historian.
The Main Floor is primarily devoted to the reference collection and houses the card catalog, periodicals, and reference desk. It has been updated with computers, microfilm projectors, and other technology to aid in finding materials. A lounge was also included in this level complete with a fireplace to be used for recreational reading or study. The Librarian's offices are located on this floor along with a study area.
The Second Floor was home to the Emilie and Karl Riemenschneider Memorial Bach Library, a world-famous collection given by Dr. Albert Riemenschneider, founder of the Conservatory of Music, and the Methodist Historical Collection of rare religious items. The floor also contains biographical and fiction books and bound periodicals. There is a lounge, seminar room, and two conference room. On of the conference rooms has been updated to house a small computer lab with Internet access.
The Ritter Library is named for the parents of Dr. George W. Ritter, of Vermilion, Ohio. A B-W Trustee since 1945, Dr. Ritter and his wife made possible the beginning of the library in 1957 with their initial gift. He graduated from Baldwin University in 1906 with a law degree, and was awarded an honorary doctor of laws in 1946. He was admitted to the Ohio Bar Association in 1907 and started practicing in Vermilion. At the time Ritter Library was built, Dr. Ritter was senior partner in the Toledo law firm of Ritter, Boesel, Holden, and Smith. He was also a trustee of the Toledo Art Museum and build a civic library in his parent's honor in Vermilion.
The project was financed through the gifts of Alumni, friends of the college, corporations, and businesses. A major funding drive was held after construction of library was begun, as half of the money needed still needed to be raised. The last donation to cover the cost of the library was received from the Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund, in the amount of $150,000. The cost of the building was completely covered by cash and pledges.
On October 25, 1980, the Charles and Mary Jane Spahr Resource and Reference Center was dedicated. The installation of the Computer Output Microfilm Catalog and On-Line database search service enabled great quantities of materials to be instantly available for research and reference. Charles E. Spahr was elected to the Board of Trustees in 1958 and was chairman of the board from 1966 until 1978. He rose from engineer at Sohio in 1939 to chairman of the board in 1970, where he was the chief executive of the company until retirement in 1977. In addition to the gift from Mr. and Mrs. Spahr and other individuals, a $100,000 Challenge Grant was received from the Kresge Foundation and a $200,000 gift from Sohio.
Citation: Frances F. Mills, ed., “The New Physical Education Building,” Baldwin-Wallace Alumnus 26, no. 1 (1948): p. 4.
The College Board of Trustees approved plans for the Men's Physical Education Building at its semi-annual meeting on January 30, and voted to begin construction. The building will cost approximately $375,000, less than half of which is now on hand, but it is hoped that the remainder will be available by the time construction is completed. Organized efforts to raise funds for this purpose in 1942 were abruptly halted by "Pearl Harbor" and the death of the campaign manager.
Inadequacy of present facilities making it necessary to play all intercollegiate basketball games off campus and a curtailed physical education and intramural sports program in rented quarters, make building at this time a necessity in spite of prevailing high costs.
The building will be located at the south-west corner of Maple Street and East Bagley Road, directly across the street from the entrance to the stadium. Two college residences now occupied by Professors Wesley and Kerstetter will be moved to lots fronting on Jacob Street. The detailed plans call for a building which will measure 204 feet by 115 feet, with a one-story administration, classroom and entrance wing of 5700 square feet in front. Trophy cases for the building have been provided by Mr. and Mrs. Fred T. Hall of Cleveland Heights, O., as a memorial to their son, Captain Ralph Hall, 1936-1938, who lost his life at Iwo Jima.
There will be 2700 permanent seats providing ample seating capacity for Commencement exercises and convention groups as well as basketball games. The new building will make possible a more complete physical education program for men through its corrective and special exercise rooms, wrestling and boxing rooms, two regulation basketball courts, class rooms, team rooms, and modern locker and shower rooms.
The engineering and detailed plans have been prepared by Arthur E. Rowe and Associates of Cleveland.
The structual steel has been ordered for delivery in June. The building committee is: J. Paul Thompson, Ray L. Saylor, A. Fred Crossman, Albert Ansel, Dr. Wright, Harold Beyer, Louis Fitch and Ray Watts.
See also: Ursprung, Rudolph S.
Built in 1949, Ursprung Gymnasium serves as home for the college’s athletic endeavors. As a classroom, the building belongs to the men. The women have their OWN gym.
The Women’s Gym was built in 1911 and can boast of a 60-foot four lane indoor swimming pool which was added to the building in 1944. It was used by both men and women until 1949.
The Ursprung Health and Physical Education Building bears the name of one of Berea’s more important citizens, Rudolph S. Ursprung. Born in Cleveland on August 3, 1891, Rudolph Ursprung began his business career by the age of 10 when he started selling newspapers to help support his family after his father had been killed by a run-away horse. In 1903, Rudolph and his family came to Berea. After he had been in Berea for six years, young Ursprung got a new job – he became a carpenter for John R. Southan, Building contractor. In 1920, he started the Rudolph Ursprung Company for the “building of finer homes.”
The Ursprung Co. had the carpentry contracts for the first unit of the Berea Community Hospital (Southwest General) and the general contract for several of the hospital’s expansions. The R.S. Ursprung Co. was incorporated in 1933. Some of their buildings include The Ohio Nut and Bolt expansion, B-W Kulas Musical Arts Building, Berea High School, B-W Lang Hall, BW student Union – Strosacker Hall, Berea Parkway Shopping Center and, of course, The Ursprung Gym. He also built The Terminal Building at Hopkins Airport.
R. S. Ursprung had a relatively long and meritorious service record. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the French Croix de Guerre, the Purple Hear, and the Bronze Medal for outstanding service in the liberation of the Philippines. As a civilian, Ursprung served as member and officer of various committees, groups or councils including the Rotary Club (president), the City Planning Commission, The Berea Board of Public Affairs and on the B-W Board of Trustees.
The Ursprung Gym is capable of accommodating 3,500 spectators and has a floor area of 81’ X 101’. The building included dressing rooms, classrooms, wrestling and apparatus room, handball courts, physical correction room, equipment rooms, and houses the College’s athletic trophies and WBWC.
Citation: Updated B-W History, n.d.
The R.S. Ursprung Health and Physical Education Building was built on the southwest comer of Maple St. (Tressel) and Bagley Rd. directly across from the stadium. Groundbreaking for the men's gymnasium was held in 1948 and the builder was The R.S. Ursprung Co. The building with complete physical education and athletic department facilities was built at a cost of $440,000 and replaced the Ohio National Guard Armory as the site for home contests. The B-W gymnasium on Beech St. only had a seating capacity of 225, and forced games to be played off campus. The first basketball game the Yellow Jackets played in the gym was against Youngstown College, on December 3, 1949. The athletic director at the time was Ray Watts.
A fund drive was initiated in the fall of 1941 to raise money the built the facility. The idea of a new athletic facility was popular among B-W students. Over 800 men and women of the student. paraded through campus on October 1, 1941, to show support for the new gym. Other rallies were also planned to show student support. The new gym was intended to be used for men, and the women wanted exclusive use of the old gymnasium on Beech St. on south campus.
The gym was large enough for two games to be played simultaneously with a seating capacity of 3,100. The gym was also equipped with outstanding lighting features, including ninety-six 1,500 watt lamps suspended over the playing area, providing ninety candles per square foot.. The Maple playing surface covers 80 by 100 feet, and was laid on an eight-inch base of concrete, tar rock, creosoted planking and paper. The north side of the building consisted of administrative offices and a classroom, with two additional lecture halls built on the first and second floors under the bleachers. The west side housed the varsity locker rooms, and the east side was used for classes in physical education. Other space under the permanent bleachers was used for wrestling, equipment, training, and special exercise rooms. The second floor to the east housed dormitory rooms for men with three to four students to each room. The Bagley Rd. frontage extended 204 feet, with a depth of 150 feet. It had a buff brick face in variegated shades at the main entrance, with India limestone trim. Haydite blocks were used for the other three sides of the building. The interior walls and ceilings were plastered with glazed tile floors. A large circled "B-W" set in the terrazzo flooring greets visitors who use the main entrance. The lobby contained set-in trophy cases, with wood doors, glass shelves, and lumiline lighting.
A mural at spanning the wall in the front of the gym is a central decoration in the facility. The nine major athletic activities at the time were pictured in the sequence they occurred during the academic year. The work of a B-W art student included illustrations of Football, cross-country, wrestling, basketball, swimming, track, golf, tennis, and baseball.
On Saturday, June 8, 1963, the facility was dedicated as the Rudolph S. Ursprung Health and Physical Education Building. It was named for Mr. Ursprung for his thirty years of dedicated service to the college as a counselor, builder, benefactor, and trustee since 1953.