Eastern Michigan University
Eastern Michigan University
Eastern Michigan University
Wednesday June 28, 2017

Library Hours: 7:30am to 10:00pm

Eastern Michigan University Library

Campus Buildings At a Glance

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Building name : Bowen Fieldhouse

Construction date : 1955

Dedication date : December 3, 1955

Name after : Wilbur P. Bowen, Professor of Mathematics and 1st Head of Physical Education Department, 1894 - 1928

Building function : Used as an exercise facility by faculty and students

Cost(USD) : 1,250,000

Architect : Giffels and Vallet, Detroit, MI

Builder :

Architecture style : Brutalist

Square footage : 88,000

Cubical content : 2,339,000

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Notes : Bowen was the second field house built on Eastern’s campus. It was constructed at the same time as Goddard and Jones Residence Halls, and Pine Grove Apartments; during a period of growth for the university. Briggs Fieldhouse was simply too small to accommodate the needs of the growing campus population. Bowen Fieldhouse was built as the first stage of a full-scale physical education facility. Later additions to the building would include a gymnasium, swimming pool, additional locker rooms and classrooms (See Warner Gymnasium and Olds/Rob Student Recreation Center). The 88,000 square foot building cost $1.25 million to construct. When Bowen was built, it was one of the largest facilities in the country including basketball, track, and baseball practice areas, also included facilities for outdoor activities like tennis and badminton. It also has indoor classrooms. There was permanent seating for 1,200 spectators and theoretically, additional seating capacity for 6,000. The building also included an 8-laps-to-the-mile track, a hard surfaced infield, a lounge, and a physical therapy room. Bowen Field House saw 351 wins in its 43 years as the home of Eastern’s basketball team. Cheering and applause echoed from the steel beams of the building leading a radio announcer on WEMU to refer to the building as “The Old Barn” and the name stuck. Originally, the basketball court was located in front of the balcony and the baskets were at the east and west ends of the court. The floor later switched to north/south direction in 1960.



Type : Renovation

Year : 1976, 1982, 1986, 2008-2009

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Notes : Bowen has undergone several renovations. In 1976, it had its first facelift, intended to increase attendance at major events. In 1982, it received a 9,400 square foot addition, including new lighting, a new track surface, and improved seating, which expanded seating capacity to 4,800. 1986 renovations included updated offices, the addition of a second story to the southwest corner of the structure, HVAC improvements, and ADA handicap accessible accommodations. 2008 and 2009 brought the addition of new windows at a cost of $750,000 to the west elevation of the Fieldhouse.