Cougar Sports Center

Postcard with images of sports fields and buildings at Morris
Physical Education Building
Pounce next to the new Cougar Sports Center sign
Cougar Sports Center sign on building

The Cougar Sports Center was built in 1970 and was called the Physical Education Center (PE Center) until its renaming in 2019. The new name was chosen to "better reflect the energy and strength" of UMN Morris Athletics (Ray). The building is the site for both intercollegiate and intramural athletics and basketball and racquetball courts, a wrestling/aerobics room, and offices. In 1973, a 20,700 square foot swimming pool was added to the building. The pool area includes an 8-lane competition pool, diving pool, and sauna. Various sports and practice fields are adjacent to the Cougar Sports Center to the east and south, including Big Cat Stadium, a soccer field, a track, and baseball field (Granger).

The architectural firm of Cerny and Associates designed both the 1970 facility and the 1973 swimming pool. The building is located away from the historic campus, yet still its use of brick and its horizontality connects to the design of many of the earlier campus buildings.

Upon its completion the PE Center replaced the old Physical Education Annex as the location for intercollegiate athletics. However, the annex continued to serve as the site for intramural sports well into the 1990s. The construction of the Sports Center on the eve of Title IX paid additional dividends and made easier the expansion of women's athletics on campus in the succeeding decades. The facility and especially the 3600-seat gymnasium have served additional functions besides that of sport and recreation. Fickle early-May weather has often forced the relocation of commencement ceremonies from the mall to the gym, and the same space has hosted the annual Circle of Nations Indigenous Association powwow, concerts, radio shows, and lectures. For instance, in 1998 the poet and civil rights activist, Maya Angelou, addressed a full house in the gymnasium.

In 1999, the Regional Fitness Center was built. The Regional Fitness Center and the Cougar Sports Center are physically connected but serve slightly different constituencies, are administered separately and are considered two separate entities.

Physical Education (P.E.) Center

This building was known as the Physical Education Center, or P.E. Center, until 2019.

Cougar Sports Center

In 2019, this building was renamed to the Cougar Sports Center, which was celebrated with a ribbon cutting on February 9, 2019.

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