Student Activities and Recreation
Weinstein Hall has a rich history, and has evolved into a completely different building over its time at the Univeristy of Richmond. Weinstein was first built as the Richmond College Student Center, and over the years has transitioned into a purely academic building. A very interesting story exists in its history as a student union, however. Through the trials and tribulations of collecting funds for the building and trying to please particular student groups, the student union brought different groups across campus together, and unified alumni and current students. While everything seemed to go wrong that could in the planning for this building, its legacy as a great unifier lives on. Although now it acts as a uniquely academic building, its history as the Richmond College Student Center is worth noting.
The Tyler Haynes Commons serves as both a literal and metaphorical bridge between the Richmond College and Westhampton College campuses. Constructed in 1976, the Tyler Haynes Commons was finished near the same time that the two separate campuses were united to become the University of Richmond as it is today.
Funding for the Commons came from the capital improvements campaign called “Our Time in History,” which was initiated in 1972 to raise $50 million. Of that amount, $30 million was to be used for construction, $20 million for scholarships and academic needs. Many funders contributed to the Commons, in particular Rector and Mrs. Lewis T. Booker and Mr. and Mrs. Howard L. Jenkins Jr.
Tyler Haynes himself did not significantly contribute to the funding of the commons but he was a highly regarded trustee at the time.
The University of Richmond announced that the Robins Center was going to be built on May 22, 1970, and, on December 2, 1972, the first home opener took place. Originally, the building was planned to be ready by June 1, 1972, but, due to protests of the workers and a few issues with the weather, it was delayed. The architect for the Robins Center was Carneal and Johnston. They mainly used concrete and covered the outside with brick to keep the same basic look as the rest of the buildings on campus. The building also maintains the University’s Collegiate Gothic style. The lower half of the building has a 1970’s Gothic details including tall skinny windows, while the top is a modern interpretation of gothic. This building also qualified as a fallout shelter for the University. At that time, the building cost ten million dollars to build. The basketball arena could fit 9,200 fans. The building also included a six lane swimming pool, an Olympic gym, wrestling facilities, an auxiliary gym, squash and handball courts, two intramural basketball courts, and offices for physical education and coaching staffs. They even had two rooms for the visiting team to sleep in. Over time there have been many renovations to the building. The most notable one was in 2013 when the basketball arena was changed. They replaced the four corner seats in the arena with four huge televisions and four suites on top of the televisions. They also changed the lighting in the arena as well to improve fan experience.
This building played a much larger role in average student life until 2006 in part because the Robins Center also contained classrooms. Before 1999, the school had a physical activity requirement as part of the general education. This requirement consisted of a program where a student needed to have three activity courses and one personal fitness class; all of which were held in the Robins Center. The three activity courses were graded as either satisfactory or unsatisfactory. Over time, the gym needed to expand to accommodate the number of students using it. One renovation cut down the locker room space to enlarge the gym. Eventually in 2006 the Weinstein Center for Recreation and Wellness was built diverting the remaining average students away from the Robins center.