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looking SW at Romney Gym – Montana State University – 2013-07-09
Image by Tim Evanson
Looking southwest at the north side of Romney Gym on the campus of Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana.
The gym was built in 1922 and in 1973 was named for George Ott Romney — co-head coach of the MSU football and men’s basketball teams from 1922 to 1928. During Romney’s time as co-head football coach, his teams complied a 28-20-1 record, although this included the 1924 season in which his team went undefeated until the final game of the year. As co-head basketball coach, his teams compiled a 144-31 record and invented fast break basketball. After Romney left, coach Schubert Dyche coached the "Golden Bobcats" team of 1928, which went 36-2 and won the national championship.
Romney Gym contained a swimming pool on the first floor, squash courts on the second, basketball court on the third, and running track and gym on the fourth. Over the years, many new interior walls were created within the structrure to create smaller, more useable classroom space. The pool was closed in 1973 after the Hosaeus Fitness Center opened.
As fo 2011-2012, Romney Gym housed several offices of the Department of Health and Human Development, including Foods & Nutrition, the Movement Science Lab, Heath Enhancement, and Extension Nutrition. It also housed the MSU employee wellness office, studios for the School of Architecture, and the MSU ROTC program. But most of the building was closed off, or served as storage space.
Montana State University proposed a million renovation of Romney Gym in 2010, and declared the structure’s renovations one of its top four priorities during the 2013 state legislature. But the state legislature refused to fund the project (the only university project it did not budget for). Romney Gym currently has sagging floors; electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems which are not up to code; lacks handicap accessibility; and is not up to current earthquake codes. Many of the interior walls added over the years are now useless and the space created too small, and a quarter of the structure cannot be used due to safety concerns.
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