The Memorial Field house was originally used as a basic training facility by the United States Navy. In 1946, Springfield College qualified for the drill hall through Public Law 697, a law that distributed war time surplus for civilian use, and the government disassembled and transported the building to Springfield College. The field house opened on February 21, 1948. On that day, the first basketball game was held in the new arena, with Springfield College playing Providence College. William R. Chase, a member of the first group of men to play basketball in 1891, tossed the ceremonial first ball. The building was divided into three sections: the Gymnasium area, the Arena area, and the Class and Game Room area. The Gymnasium area is 140 x 80 feet of permanent maple flooring and could accommodate 5 volleyball, or 9 badminton, or 3 basketball courts, or some combination of the three courts. The Arena area comprises 230 feet of open earth surface for field events and had the ability up to accommodate 4,000 spectators at public events and basketball games. The Class and Game Room area has spaces for offices and temporary classrooms which could also be converted to specialized game rooms for boxing, wrestling, fencing, and calisthenics.
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