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The Stephen L Richards Physical Education Building

Brigham Young University experienced rapid growth in the number of students attending the university in the 1950s and 1960s. This rapid growth combined with an increased interest in physical education to provide acute shortages of teaching space and facilities for physical education instruction. The university’s Board of Trustees recognized the need for more adequate physical education facilities and approved the construction of a new building in the early 1960s. Construction on the new building began in December 1963 and the building was completed in the the fall of 1965.

The Richards building originally included three swimming pools, two large gymnasiums, two small gymnasiums, two dances studios, offices for faculty members, seven classrooms and a Human Performance Research Center. The Human Performance Research Center consisted of eighteen laboratory areas, an adaptive physical education room, a leadership training area, a driver training area, a laundry facility, and dressing rooms and showers. The building was named after apostle Stephen L. Richards. The Richards Building has been a popular student destination since its completion. It is used frequently for intramural and other activities by students as well as being the home of physical education on campus.

The Stephen L Richards Physical Education Building, ca. 1965

Gymnasium in the new Richards Building, ca. 1965

Swimming pools in the newly completed Richards Building, ca. 1965

To learn more about the sources available on the history of the Richards Building, please contact the University Archivist at (801) 422-5821 or gordon_daines@byu.edu.

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