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From the Archives

Looking back at a few past athletics construction projects.

The groundbreaking of the new Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium gives us a chance to recall the construction of two earlier athletics facilities, the Andrews Field House and the current Campus Life Building. 

The first of those two, Andrews Field House, opened in 1929. It was the gift of Spartanburg businessman Isaac Andrews, and it was designed to serve as a basketball, volleyball and even handball court. It also was to serve as a space for instruction in all indoor sports, and it could seat large crowds for significant events at the college. Soon after it opened, it hosted some of the college’s 75th anniversary events. As was said at its opening, “There is no more adequate building anywhere, and it will contribute much to the physical training and athletic activities of Wofford students.” 

Andrews Field House replaced an earlier gym, but the previous building was not large enough to hold athletics events. Andrews was expanded twice, once in the late 1940s for racquetball courts, and later in the 1960s for locker rooms. By the late 1970s, however, it was becoming inadequate for the college’s athletics needs. 

In the late 1970s, the college moved to construct the Campus Life Building, and on Jan. 22, 1981, the Benjamin Johnson Arena was dedicated. The women’s basketball team played the first game in the new arena prior to the dedication, and the men’s basketball team played its first game against The Citadel following the dedication. The new arena had a seating capacity of 2,832 when it opened. 

The Campus Life Building, dedicated in November 1980, was a much-needed addition to the college’s facilities, bringing a number of different student life offices and spaces together in one area. The building has seen countless theatre productions, community events and student lunches in the canteen, Zach’s, since it opened.

by Dr. Phillip Stone ’94