Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Old Gym

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Institution Name: Washington and Jefferson College
Original/Historic Place Name: Gymnasium Building
Location on Campus:
Date(s) of Construction:
1892-1893original construction Jennings, A. B.
Designer: A. B. Jennings
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Romanesque revival, Other (Glossary)
Significance: education
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: sandstone
Walls: interior: brick-plaster; exterior: stone
Roof: slate
ca. 1893-present (2006)gymnasium
ca. 2002-present (2006)faculty offices
ca. 2002-present (2006)classrooms
ca. 2002-present (2006)infirmary (Swanson Wellness Center)

Erected in 1892 and 1893 through contributions from President Moffat and others who recognized the need for a suitable athletic facility, this stone building with a church-like exterior became the first W&J building to cater to the students' physical well-being. Prior to the construction of the Old Gym, students had rigged up their own version of a gymnasium under the grandstands at College Field. The Field is located at the corner of South Main Street at Park Avenue near the main campus.

The Old Gym was transformed into a new fitness and wellness center in the summer of 2002. The center features an assortment of cardiovascular equipment, strength-training machines, and free weights. State-of-the-art fitness equipment include elliptical trainers designed as the modern version of the Stairmaster, recumbent bicycles that offer various seating positions to maximize workouts, and cardiovascular equipment with cardiotheatres that have television screens built into each unit.

The upper level walking track has also been restored. Presently, the lower level has classroom space and faculty offices. The center, which was made possible by a lead gift from John and Janet Swanson, was designed to provide the entire W&J community with access to a modern fitness facility.


"The Archives: The Fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta." Online (2006). Washington College, Washington, PA.

Coleman, Helen Turnbull Waite. Banners in the Wilderness. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1956.

Dober, Lidsky, Craig, and Associates. Washington & Jefferson College: Campus plan 2001. [Belmont, MA: Dober, Lidsky, Craig, and Associates], 2001.

Donnelly, J. B. Venerable W & J at 200. Washington, PA: Washington & Jefferson College, 1980.

LaQuarta, Jack. Washington & Jefferson College Landscape Master Plan. Pittsburgh, PA: [s.n.], 1983.

W & J: The Magazine for Alumni and Friends of Washington & Jefferson College. Washington, PA: Washington & Jefferson College.

W & J Walker Volunteer Manual. Handbook. [Washington, PA: Washington & Jefferson College, n.d.].


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Last update: November 2006