78-year-old gymnasium demolished; paves way for construction of alumni center

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THE UNIVERSITY has begun demolishing the 78-year-old UST Gymnasium, paving the way for the construction of the Thomasian Alumni Center, the future “home for alumni” in the campus.

But to keep its historical value, being the oldest gym in the country and one of the first buildings in the campus, the facade will be retained, according to Gary del Rosario, RDR Demolition general manager.

Del Rosario added that the Olympic-sized swimming pool will be refurbished.

All athletic and sports equipment will be transferred to the new UST Sports Complex, which will be inaugurated in August, but items like trophies and commemorative plaques will be kept in the alumni center.

The Office for Alumni Relations, located at the Benavides Building (High School Building), will also be transferred to the center.

The five-story Thomasian Alumni Center will have a grand lobby, a “wall of honors”, four ballroom lobbies, 16 mini auditoria, and multi-function rooms.

Michael Angelo Malicsi, director of the Office for Alumni Relations, said the Thomasian Alumni Center is envisioned as a haven for alumni in UST.

"The center's primary service to the alumni is to strengthen their ties and communication with the University," Malicsi said.

The center's construction will start after the demolition of the gymnasium.

"Hopefully, the grand lobby of the Thomasian Alumni Center will be inaugurated in January 2012 in time of the closing of the Quadricentennial celebration," Malicsi said.

The construction is funded by donations from alumni and the US-based UST Medical Alumni Association Foundation, which had pledged $1 million for the construction of the center.

Because of the demolition of the gym, which started last April 6, the Institute of Physical Education and Athletics (IPEA) has moved to a temporary office in the Beato Angelico Building.

IPEA department secretary Gilda Ma. Paz Kamus said the Facilities Management Office (FMO) set a notice three years ago to prepare to move into a new office.

“Everybody here in IPEA is flexible,” she said. When we transferred to Beato, it was fast.”

Kamus also said that that all materials and equipment of IPEA have been secured by the FMO.

“They (FMO) opened a warehouse in the Sports Complex to store our materials,” she said.

Athletes affected

However, Kamus said athletes' training was “greatly affected.”

“All training is currently done outside the University. Coaches rent [courts and the like] outside for their training. Some teams train in Lyceum [of the Philippines University in Intramuros], while some teams do their training at Buddhacare Academy in Quezon City,” she said.

Once the Sports Complex is finished, the whole institute will immediately move to the building, Kamus said.

The multi-million Sports Complex, which started construction in 2009, will be a venue of some UAAP games and other important University activities, like graduation rites.

The UST Gymnasium, designed by Thomasian architect Fernando Ocampo, was completed on March 7, 1933. It was one of the first structures built in the campus and was the venue of the University’s commencement exercises from 1933 to 1950’s. It also housed the Conservatory of Music from 1946 to 1949.

Sa totoo lang

okay lang siguro kahit masakripisyo yung gym para sa pagpapagawa ng istraktura para sa mga alumni ng ating unibersidad. hindi naman siguro kasalanan ang pagsira sa isang lumang istraktura para sa bago.

Adaptive Reuse

In Theories of Architecture, there is a term called "Adaptive Reuse" wherein old structures are being remodelled or retrofit to make it more functionable in present day use. There are so many old buildings in the country that doesn't serve its purpose anymore so the the need to remodel them is a must. Heritage conservation doesn't only imply that we need to restore its whole structural integrity. In fact, they will retain the facade of the old gym as a symbol of its contribution to the Thomasian community for 78 years. Like the other comment, it will never happen that the Dominicans will demolish the main building nor the Arch of the Centuries since they are landmarks of our campus. The UST Gym however maybe a landmark but not the same as the main building. This is not the first time that UST demolished a building inside the campus. There were the old high school building, the structure before the erection of the present educ building called the "hut" and others to name a few.

That will never happen

The school administration are not stupid enough to demolish the Arch of the Centuries and of course, the Main Building. In fact, there are plans already on the upcoming centennial of the Main Building in 2027. Besides, these structures are cultural treasures already by the National Museum. I definitely agree with the move of the admin to convert the old UST gym into an Alumni Center. That gym doesn't serve its purpose anymore in present day standards. Please don't assume a canteen or carpark because it looks stupid. At least, we don't use our field to construct a new building just like DLSU did in their own field. They're now constructing their new "Henry Sy Sr Hall" in the only open space of their campus, the football field.

Demolition of the UST GYM

I feel sad that the 78-old historical UST GYM was demolished to pave way for the construction of the alumni center. You can built the alumni center anywhere but not on the site of the historical gym . I always thought that the Dominican administrators of this oldest university in Asia , like no one else, may have the strong sense of history. I will not be surprise if one day you will demolished the arch in the entrance (and make in a canteen ) and your main building be demolished to pave way for the construction of a modern parking lot.

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