Gym Phase I
In the late 1940s, RPI was suffering from having a campus consisting entirely of renovated houses with no new buildings. This in turn hurt RPI's reputation, so in effort to improve the image of RPI, the first new buildings were created in the late 1950s. The Franklin Street Gym was the first purpose-built new building constructed on RPI's campus.
Prior to 1950, the policy of the state was not to aid city-located colleges, of the newer type, by appropriating funds from tax sources to build buildings. (note?)
In 1949, when the time came to make up the Governor’s budget for 1950-52, the state engineers managed to insert a conditional item of $100,000 to start construction of a modern gymnasium for RPI. Later, towards the end of Governor John S. Battle’s term, the chief engineer in the Bureau of the Budget, Fred Q. Saunders, whose duty it was to advise the Governor and Budget director, suggested that about $200,000 remaining in one of the governor’s discretionary funds, be allocated to RPI to increase the gymnasium fund. Governor Battle approved this recommendation. (note?)
This provided about $300,000 which was insufficient to build a complete building, so it was decided to build a one-story and basement structure in the rear of 818-819 West Franklin Street, and to plan it in such a way that a three-story addition could be built later to the front, if and when the state appropriated the additional funds. In 1956, the State General Assembly appropriated $382,000 for this front section. (note?)
Source(s): bibliographic formatting