Weatherspoon Physical Education Building was completed in September 1970. The H-shaped building, with a gymnasium on the west side and a swimming pool on the east, gave students a space to be proud of and fit all the needs of the college at the time. The new building replaced a 40-year old “temporary” gym located on east campus.
The 37,000 square foot building was one of five new buildings that were to be constructed as part of a five year $5 million fundraising campaign. This was the most ambitious fundraising goal to date. A $400,000 gift from W. Herbert Weatherspoon and the daughters of his late brother James R. Weatherspoon kicked off the fundraising campaign in 1968. The building was dedicated on September 25, 1970.
In September 1993, the Board of Trustees proposed building an addition to the Weatherspoon Physical Education building due to the increased interest and enrollment in the areas of physical education, health, and dance. A new dance studio would be built, as well as a fitness center. F. Carter Williams Architects, designers of the original Weatherspoon Building, planned the addition.
In 2015, The Parent’s Fund decided to raise money for the Fitness Center based on feedback from the students. The College recognized that the Fitness Center in its current state needed new equipment, longer operating hours, and additional fitness-related programs. They were able to raise $56,148, surpassing their goal by more than $6,000.
For 2016-17, they have raised $73,000 so far, and that money will be used for the new Fitness Center that is being constructed on the east side of the building where the pool was located.
Additionally, in 2016, the Oscar A. Keller, Jr. family gave a six figure gift to support renovations to the new Fitness Center. In honor of the gift, the dance studio was named the Oscar A. Keller, Jr. and Elderlene R. Keller Dance Studio.
In 2017, a $1 million gift from Ann Lowery, ’74, named the new fitness center in the Weatherspoon Physical Education building for her parents, Herman and Ruth Lowery. Lowery is serving her second term on the Board of Trustees and is co-chair of Beyond Strong | The Campaign for Meredith.
The expansion began in early 2017 and will increase the size of the fitness center by 5,400 square feet and allow for more group fitness opportunities, personalized training, new equipment, more dedicated staff, and longer operating hours. The pool has been removed to expand the fitness center.
Meredith athletic teams will also benefit from the new areas for team training and sports conditioning and an improved fitness center will potentially help grow enrollment, increase retention, and give wellness opportunities not offered before to current and future students. Quality of life is also one of the six pillars in the College’s strategic plan, so the gift aligns with Meredith’s commitment to health and well-being.