Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tarleton Thursdays: Did You Know?

The Girls' Physical Education Building & Swimming Pool

It's summer and time for swimming! The photos above show the "new" girls' gymnasium and swimming pool! Construction began in February 1951 at a cost of $118,368 for the building, and $35,342 for the pool. The new facility was ready for use in the Fall of 1951.

A "dream come true" for coed Coach Laura Fellman..."one lone basketball - that's the only equipment the college had for girls' organized play," the tall instructor, who came to Tarleton in 1921, recalled. "And 30 years was a long, long time to wait for something, but look what I have now!" The spacious 100' x 55' gymnasium with a solid maple floor and decorated in green and bright red brick, provided room for a basketball court, four badminton tables, two sets of deck tennis, table tennis, and a volleyball court. Other rooms included offices and an equipment room. Then...the "gateway to the pool really leads to something exceptional."

The girls and boys pool, with two diving boards, ranged in depth from 12 foot to 3 toot, providing adequate space for beginners and advanced swimmers. Dressing rooms included showers, dressing booths, and mirrors, and would accomodate 168 girls at a time, which the girls described as "out of this world." A smaller boys' dressing room was on the opposite side.

Students and employees and children of enployees, only, were permitted use of the pool. The pool was used for free by students in PE classes, but the recreational swimming cost was $.25 per person! Dorm students had to dress in their rooms in clean, free from dirt, bathing suits, and swim caps were required for all swimmers! Dean Paul A. Cunyus took the first dip in the new swimming pool in October 1951 and found the water rather cool and stayed in only a few minutes!

A few years later, swimming lessons were offered to the community at the Tarleton swimming pool! The building was used until the Wisdom Gym was expanded in 1977. It then housed the intramural offices and custodial offices. The pool was closed in 1977, and was covered with concrete in 1981 and used as a basketball court and recreational area. Today it is the new home of telecommunications and the computer help desk. The old swimming pool area is fenced and used as a parking area for the help desk utility vehicles.

Of the new 1951 facility, Coach Fellman remarked that "I have to pinch myself to believe it's really true! We're awfully proud of it!"

Dick Smith Library, Cross Timbers Historic Images Project.
Guthrie, Christopher E., John Tarleton and His Legacy, p.113-114.
J-TAC, Feb. 2, 1951, Oct. 23, 1951, Oct. 30, 1951, Feb. 5, 1952.

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