Warner Palaestra

Warner Palaestra, 1974 (click thumbnails for larger images)

Architect: THH; Ellerbe Becket


Dates: 1973, 1997

The construction of the Warner Palaestra was completed in the fall 1973. The building was created in response to a growing demand from students, faculty, and coaches to create a recreation center at SJU. The facility took 2.6 million dollars and a year to complete. The Warner Palaestra was named in part to the Lee and Rose Warner Foundation with awarded SJU $300,000. The space was dedicated on September 15 th, 1973.

There were three phases of the initial construction. The first called for an arena that would be large enough for four basketball courts, a one-tenth mile indoor track, a baseball diamond and more. This arena was needed the space in the Rat Hall (Guild Hall) which had become too small. The second phase included a wrestling room, a physical fitness room, two classrooms, nine offices, and locker rooms.  The final phase, which was started in the fall of 1972, was an eight-lane Olympic size pool with a three-meter spring board and a five-meter diving platform.  

In 1982, a new weight room was created that was larger in size and had more equipment.

In 1997, the McNeely Spectrum was added to the east side of the Palaestra and the floors in the main arena were replaced with wood.

In 1999, a group of students presented the idea of adding a climbing wall to the Palaestra. In January of 2000, the two middle racquetball courts were removed, and an 80-foot rock wall was installed.


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Text drafted by Maria Schrupp, CSB ’20