McArthur Court remains a vital part of the University

The athletic department concluded its final intercollegiate competition in McArthur Court on Jan. 8, 2011, but the decrepit building squished between Esslinger Hall and Howe Field isn’t just an empty space waiting to be razed — there are still students, staff and faculty who make use of it.

According to the Memorandum of Understanding between the University and the athletic department (PDF), use of the old arena is split between University of Oregon Physical Education and Recreation, Club Sports, intercollegiate softball and men’s and women’s tennis teams.

Despite split use, the UO programs using the building were asked to pay the brunt of the utilities cost. The MOU states athletics only takes up 17.84 percent of the building. In 2010, the total utilities cost for Mac Court was $121,760, equating to $21,000 for the athletic department. The document outlines readjustment of cost sharing based on the current year’s consumer price index, but the Emerald was unable to obtain the renewed agreement.

Constructed in 1926, the 87-year-old building has seen its fair share of thrilling competition and was widely recognized as one of the most hostile environments in college basketball. It was home to many great players, including the first NCAA men’s tournament champions in 1939, the “Tall Firs,” as well as current NBA players Aaron Brooks and Luke Ridnour. @@checked [email protected]@

Now the building is dedicated to PE and recreational use, including the men’s and women’s club volleyball and rowing teams. It has also provided an extra space for students who want to pursue their own athletic endeavors at the UO.

Associate director of facilities for physical education, Bryan Haunert, says that having the extra space for PE classes and intramural sports is important to the students who use the space and frees up room in the Student Recreation Center.@@[email protected]@

“It does still have value to a student to walk in, and they’re actually having class in Mac Court, which obviously has a huge history on campus,” Haunert said. “I think it’s a neat atmosphere and venue to still keep active.”

Senior club volleyball player and head coordinator Katelyn Comfort says that before getting to use Mac Court, the volleyball teams had to fight for practice space in the basement of Gerlinger Hall. She and her teammates are grateful they get to use the space three times a week because the old space was less than comfortable.@@[email protected]@

“The switch to Mac Court was magnificent. The space is massive and the floor is infinitely better,” Comfort said. “The best part about the integration of Mac Court as part of the Rec Center is that we only need to reserve the space each year, and we do not pay any rental fees through the great relationship between the Rec Center and Club Sports.”

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Sam Stites

Sam Stites