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Rose-Ryan Center / McGuirk Arena


RoseRyanAerial.jpgOpened: 1973
Cost: $5.5. Million
Renovated: 1990, 2010

The facilities that would eventually become the Rose Center and Ryan Center were first proposed as a $5.5 million physical Education building in October 1969. Designed by Daverman Architect and Engineering firm of Grand Rapids, the building's construction contract was awarded to the Christman Company of Lansing in 1971. The building was planned for an area on the south side of Broomfield, part of the continued expansion of campus to the south. Indeed, Broomfield Road was widened to four lanes and a median was added to facilitate the increased number of pedestrians that would be using the new athletic complex.

Excavation was underway on the project by summer of 1971, but problems delayed the opening of the new building. In January 1972, high winds caused the collapse of several steel columns on the partially-constructed building. Later that year, three workers were injured when a steel beam fell over thirty feet to the ground.

picrose.jpgThe building itself, which opened in the summer of 1973, was an impressive addition to campus. The complex was twice the size of Finch Fieldhouse, which served as the primary location of the school's athletic pursuits prior to this point. It had separate areas for wrestling, handball, dance, gymnastics, and physical conditioning. There was a specially equipped facility for students with disabilities. There was also a 6,000 seat basketball arena that could be converted to classroom space, a six-lane competitive pool and separate diving pool, and a turf room that featured a Tartan turf surface similar to that installed at Spartan Stadium. Outside, the complex also included eight tennis courts and four softball/soccer fields. In January 1973, it was announced that the athletic complex building would be named the Daniel P. Rose Center, after the long-time athletic director and winningest basketball coach in CMU history (pictured at left). The academic wing would be named Grace E. Ryan Hall, after the health and physical education instructor who served for 35 years from 1923-58 (pictured below). The Rose Center remained the hub of both intramural and recreational athletic activity throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

picryan.jpgHowever, with the continued growth of the student body and increasing demands from students for an expansion, Trustees approved financing for an expansion to the existing Rose Center in 1987. Dubbed Physical Education and Recreation Phase II, the plans called for a $14.9 million, 179,000 square foot addition to the Rose Center. The addition was designed by TMP Associates of Bloomfield Hills and built by the Christman Corporation of Lansing. The new expansion would feature six racquetball courts, a three-lane jogging track, a twelve-lane bowling alley, six multipurpose gymnasiums, a pool, weight room facilities, and two auxiliary gymnasiums. In 1990, University officials announced a name change for the facility. The entire athletic complex would now be known as the Student Activity Center, while the basketball arena would be known as Rose Arena. All of the facilities would be under the supervision of Campus Recreational Services with the exception of the arena, which would remain under the Department of Athletics.

Doors to the Student Activity Center officially opened on September 3, 1990. Students and faculty were required to show their campus identification card, which contained information about whether that student had paid the annual fee, to enter the facility. The complex was officially dedicated with a ribbon cutting ceremony on October 4, 1990. CMU President Edward B. Jakubauskas, Chair of the Board of Trustees Margaret Riesker, and SAC Director Tom Jones were among those who spoke in front of a crowd of about one hundred gathered on a converted section of one of the basketball courts.

By the early 2000s, University officials were again discussing renovating, or even completely replacing, the existing events center. A new building was prohibitively expensive, so in 2007, the Board of Trustees approved $21.5 million for renovation of Rose Arena and the surrounding complex. Designs, by the Smith Group, the nation's seventh largest health care architecture firm, were approved in July 2009. The general contractor for the project was the Clark Construction Company of Lansing. Construction began in the fall of 2009. Construction required the relocation of 32 trees and the removal of 80 trees from the site; 80 new trees were planted in other parts of campus to make up for the loss of those on the construction site.

The new events center looked to create a more welcoming appearance and expand both the available space and usefulness of the facilities. 50,000 square feet of additional space was added to the old complex in the form of an atrium grand entrance, a practice gymnasium, and an expanded wrestling complex. The arena itself was renovated through improvements to the existing seating and the addition of a 12 x 30 ft. scoreboard and video system at the west end of the arena. A new lobby and ticket office and significant expansion to the fitness center were also part of the renovation. The project was completed in different phases over the course of 2010-2012.

As the new arena neared its opening in the fall of 2010, the University announced that it would be named after the McGuirk family of Mt. Pleasant, which had donated the requisite $2.5 million for naming rights to the arena. The McGuirks owned McGuirk Sand and Gravel as well as United Apartments, both influential local businesses. The basketball court within the arena was renamed Kulhavi Court, in honor of former Trustee John Kulhavi, who donated $1 million. Kulhavi was a 1965 CMU graduate and senior vice president at Merrill Lynch in Farmington Hills at the time of the dedication. CMU offered naming rights to the entire events center for $5 million, but failed to find a donor willing to accept the offer.

new mcguirk arena.JPGProblems plagued the construction process. The opening of the fitness center was delayed slightly when asbestos and high levels of lead were found in the space being converted from the old wrestling center. Additional funds had to be allocated when the integration of the old and new construction met difficulties and design errors forced crews to investigate and adjust their plans. Funding also caused some controversy, as the University's website provided incorrect information about the public nature of construction funds. Although officials had been transparent in the process of allocating these funds, skepticism over a project facing many other problems grew among some students.

Even with these problems, construction proceeded steadily. The new events center opened in time for the fall 2010 basketball season's start. The expanded fitness center was ready for use by the spring of 2011. The project was fully complete by 2012. The new events center received the 2012 Building Honor for Architectural Excellence from the Detroit chapter of the American Institute of Architecture. It was the second University structure to be recognized by the AIA, after the Education and Human Services building won the award eight years earlier.