The Red Gym’s Modern Makeover

The 19th-century building now boasts up-to-date student spaces.

Exterior of Red Gym illuminated at nighttime

Jeff Miller

The UW Armory and Gymnasium, built in 1894 and commonly called the Red Gym, may be campus’s most iconic building. But around the mid-20th century, the Romanesque Revival fortress was viewed as obsolete and considered for removal. In 1998, a restoration project preserved the building and transformed its interior.

Latinx Cultural Center inside the Red Gym

Bryce Richter

Last year, a new round of renovations enhanced student programming spaces, including the Latinx Cultural Center (pictured above). The Red Gym houses several other student centers, diversity initiatives, and general services, such as International Academic Programs and the Morgridge Center for Public Service.

The Gender and Sexuality Campus Center inside the Red Gym

Bryce Richter

As part of the nine-month project, the Gender and Sexuality Campus Center doubled in size and can now comfortably serve its average of 50 to 75 visitors a day. Improvements included a class-size meeting room, enclosed offices for the center’s four full-time staff members, and a private area for mental health consultations.

The Multicultural Student Center inside the Red Gym

Bryce Richter

Renovations were completed during the COVID-19 pandemic, which means the new spaces are still awaiting student activity. Over the past year, virtual services replaced in-person programming, though students were able to reserve distanced study spaces in the Red Gym’s Multicultural Student Center.

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