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Valparaiso University - Volleyball

Valparaiso University Volleyball Camps


Hilltop Gym at the Athletics-Recreation Center

In 1916, when Valparaiso was the second largest university in the United States, ambitious students banded together and helped erect an enormous barn-like structure on the corner of Union and University Park Ave. However, in 1927, "the gymnasium" succumbed to a fire one cold December night. For the next 12 years, students hiked across town to use Valparaiso High School facilities, but in 1939, when enrollment stood at 500 students, a brand new gymnasium was built on the same site. It was the first building constructed under the University's Lutheran administration and was viewed as the beginning of the new era for the school.

The University of Notre Dame's Fighting Irish came to campus to play the Crusaders in the dedicatory game in the new facility, which was to become known as Hilltop Gymnasium.

As time passed, it became evident that the original building was no longer adequate to meet students' needs. To help meet those various recreational and athletic needs an addition to Hilltop Gym was dedicated in 1962. The split-level expansion added a swimming pool, additional seating in the basketball arena, an additional gymnasium, a number of teaching stations and classrooms, dressing rooms, locker rooms, and office and storage spaces.

For the dedicatory game of this expanded facility, the Fighting Irish traveled to Valparaiso, as they had on the night of the original gymnasium's dedication.

As the University continued to grow and expand, the needs of the student body became greater than the existing facility could serve. The genesis for today's A.R.C. was a 1978-79 Student Senate survey, which identified an overwhelming student-felt need for improved recreational facilities at Valparaiso. This survey was followed in 1979 by a comprehensive University-wide study by the Council on University Priorities and Planning.

Subsequently a campus committee developed a program of needs. The VU Board of Directors then designated the A.R.C. as a priority capital component of the Crusade by Valparaiso University, a national comprehensive effort to raise $50 million in support of the University. Ground was broken on April 23, 1983.

The $7.25 million Athletics-Recreation Center, designed by Daverman Associates, Inc. and constructed under the direction of the Barton-Malow Company, adds 84,000 square feet of new construction to the adjacent facility, thereby providing at one site a complex of over 142,000 square feet for physical education, athletics, and recreational activities.

The new building was designed with primary emphasis on supplementing the already existing recreational areas. It contains: seven playing floors for basketball and volleyball; a free play area for recreational basketball, volleyball, and other activities; a nine-lap per mile running track; six racquetball/handball courts; classrooms and lounges; an audio-visual room; and a coed-training room, including separate spaces for physical examinations, private treatments and hydrotherapy.

The new A.R.C. arena currently has 5,000 seats and will accomodate 6,000. The building was designed so that expansion will permit its seating capacity to increase to approximately 10,000. The arena is complemented by an attractive entrance, lobbies, ticket offices and permanent display cases. The facility has also added permanent concession stands, public restrooms and five new locker rooms.

On Sunday afternoon, December 9, 1984, in keeping with tradition, Notre Dame's Fighting Irish visited Valparaiso and provided the opposition for the dedication game of the A.R.C. The A.R.C. was also the site of VU's dramatic upset of then-19th-ranked Notre Dame in 1988, played in front of 4,913 overjoyed fans. The game went into overtime after VU tied the game at the buzzer in regulation, and the Crusaders won 71-68 in front of a regional Sportsvision television audience. On November 17, 1997, VU hosted Purdue in front of 5,412 fans - the largest crowd in school history.

Since the completion of the A.R.C., renovation of the existing facility has provided: upgraded facilities for all VU students and faculty, including a new weight room; classrooms and laboratories; locker rooms; and staff offices. In the Fall of 1999, the men's and women's basketball coaching staffs moved into the brand new Schrage Basketball Wing. The addition houses the offices for both staffs and includes an expansive team room, as well as video rooms, a reception area and a kitchen.