McCullough Gym

Filed in Architecture & landscapes
Built in 1912 with funds largely provided by ex-governor John G. McCullough, McCullough Gym, by W. Nicholas Albertson of New York City, marks another change in style for the campus. Not Vermont mill building or classical Beaux-Arts, this is vaguely colonial. Its symmetrical massing, round-arched windows, entry pavilion, hipped roof, and cupola evoke the Georgian style of our eighteenth century. However, the execution is not in Georgian wood and brick, but rather in Vermont marble. The allusion, too, to a colonial past (which might seem particularly suitable for a New England college) ironically enough, has little to do with Middlebury's origins. The town was barely chartered—let alone the college under way—when such construction was in vogue in Boston and the Middle Atlantic colonies. The gymnasium served first men, then (after 1949) women. In 1963 the competition-sized Arthur M. Brown Swimming Pool was appended to the rear of the structure (the pool has since been replaced with a larger one behind the field house complex in 1996). With the consolidation of the College athletic facilities in the fieldhouse complex, McCullough was converted first for use by the College's dance program and then (1988 – 1990) totally remodeled and expanded by the architectural firm of Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer for use as a student center with the addition of twin polygonal pavilions to the east and west. In 2000 the transformation was completed with the conversion of the old swimming pool space into the Grille (by Freeman, French, and Freeman of Burlington). Today's McCullough Student Center is a colorful multi-level, multi-function space that incorporates a juice bar, a short order counter, TV rooms, and galleries of tables and booths focusing on a stage and dance floor on the lower level and a free-standing timber-framed billiards pavilion reached by bridges on the upper level.