Elma Roane Fieldhouse Continues to Evolve
July 18, 2013
In the winter of 1951, then-Memphis State College opened a new, on-campus fieldhouse which replaced the school's Memorial Gym. The Fieldhouse, which was constructed for $700,000 and seated 3,500 fans and students, was officially dedicated on February 11, 1952, in a ceremony attended by Tennessee Governor Gordon Browning, Memphis Mayor Samuel Watkins Overton and College President J. Millard Smith.
The facility served as the home of the Tigers' men's basketball teams from 1951 until 1964, when the municipally-owned Mid-South Coliseum opened. The Fieldhouse became the home of the University's physical education department, and it was not until women's athletics returned to the Memphis campus in the fall of 1972 that the facility again became the home of a Tiger basketball team, the then-named Memphis State Lady Tigers.
In 2011, the Elma Roane Fieldhouse, named in honor of Memphis women's athletic pioneer and athletic administrator Elma Neale Roane, saw renovations begin. The $1.3 million Phase I project included a total renovation of the locker room areas for women's basketball and volleyball, a new student-athlete lounge, a new doctor's examination area and a coaches' meeting room and locker area.
"The University of Memphis wants to always remain at the forefront of women's athletics and remain compliant under Title IX guidelines," said Memphis Athletics Director Tom Bowen. "With the gifts we have received from various support groups, as well as the generous donation from the Hardin Foundation, we can enter construction projects that will benefit our women's programs as we enter the American Athletic Conference".
The Phase II renovations were recently completed in the Elma Roane Fieldhouse and have created entirely new athletic training and strength and conditioning facilities that will benefit the Tiger volleyball and women's basketball programs.
"This is a state-of-the-art athletic training and strength and conditioning facility," women's basketball Head Coach Melissa McFerrin said. "This is one important step for us as we continue to make dramatic improvements to the facility at the University of Memphis."
The Phase II renovations began last summer. One part of the Phase II renovation was converting what used to be racquetball courts in the Elma Roane Fieldhouse into a new strength and conditioning area. The lower level that housed the racquetball courts is now home to five PowerLift Power Racks, leg extension and leg curl machines, and an assortment of new Iron Grip dumbbells, ranging from five to 80 pounds. The strength and conditioning equipment came to the Tigers courtesy of a gift from the Helen and Jabie Hardin Charitable Trust.
Above the weight area are two new cardio fitness platforms. One platform houses six new Woodway 4Front Treadmills, while another consists of a four-lane, indoor track to work on sprints.
Adjacent to the new strength and conditioning area is a new athletic training facility. The Tigers can get prepped for games on the new Proteam by Hausmann Taping Station and can receive treatment on any of the five Proteam training tables, one of which, a Hausmann high/low table, can also serve as a massage table. The Tigers also have a new Chattanooga Vectra Genisys Electrotherapy System to aid in treatments.
The Tigers' student-athletes will also be aided in their workout recoveries with the addition of a HydroWorx PolarPlunge pool, which keeps water temperatures at a 55 degree temperature to help control joint inflammation and enhance muscle recovery. Previously, the Tigers had to stagger ice baths among three stainless steel tubs, but the PolarPlunge pool will enable more athletes to get into their recovery plans quicker after workouts and games.
A second HydroWorx pool that was added to the athletic training area was an Aquatic Therapy Pool, which has an underwater treadmill. That assists athletes in a low-impact exercise environment that will assist in increasing range of motion and in improving muscle strength with strategically-placed, high-powered water jets that can be used for resistance training and deep-tissue massage. Previously, athletes needing the underwater treadmill had to use the one on the Park Avenue campus.
An additional donation from the Fastbreak Club added new televisions and a music sound system to the facility.
Outside of the strength and conditioning and athletic training updates, the Tigers gained additional storage, a laundry facility and a players' lounge in the Phase II renovations.
The completion of the Phase II renovations is part of Athletic Director Tom Bowen's Strategic Plan, which calls for a renovation of various Memphis athletic facilities. In addition to the recently-completed Fieldhouse project, the Memphis athletic department has begun construction of a new track and field and soccer stadium and will launch construction of a new clubhouse for the women's softball stadium this summer.