FLASHBACK: August highlights in the history of the University of Regina

By Dale Johnson Posted: August 1, 2016 6:00 a.m.

This picture looking south shows the Legislature (upper right), Darke Hall (lower right), College Building (lower centre), and the Gymnasium (lower left, circled).
This picture looking south shows the Legislature (upper right), Darke Hall (lower right), College Building (lower centre), and the Gymnasium (lower left, circled). Photo: U of R Archives, courtesy Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration, Canada Dept. of Agriculture (1954).

The month of August is often considered a time to get prepared for a new academic year – and August has also been a busy month for announcements for the University of Regina and its forerunners, Regina College and the Regina Campus of the University of Saskatchewan.

Among the historical highlights during the month of August:

side gym
A contract for the original gymnasium was awarded in August 1924. Photo: U of R Archives and Special Collections

1924:  A contract was awarded for a new gymnasium at Regina College. It was front-page news in the Regina Leader newspaper that Smith Brothers and Wilson won with a bid of $44,600. Construction work on the project began a couple of weeks later. The new gymnasium was designed so that it could also be used as an auditorium for concerts until a performing arts centre was built – which turned out to be Darke Hall, which opened in 1929. The gymnasium was just east of the College Building, and faced Hamilton Street at College Avenue. The gymnasium was demolished in 1988, and some sections, including the archway, now are on display in the Centre for Kinesiology, Health and Sport – to serve as a reminder of the history of Regina College.

1963:  Pool construction was awarded the contract to build the first buildings at the new Regina Campus, which was to accommodate 1,500 students. The contract was for $5,068,000. As well, it was announced that Saskatchewan Premier Woodrow Lloyd would lay the cornerstone of the first building at the new campus on Sept. 26, 1963.

1968:  Plans were announced for a new student centre. “The centre, designed as a temporary structure to ease the present space shortage on Regina Campus will provide areas for cafeteria and dining room accommodation, lounge space and student offices,” the Leader-Post reported.

1968:  “Regina Campus is considering a ‘co-operative’ or ‘sandwich’ system of education whereby the student would attend classes part of the year and work in business or industry for the reminder of the year,” the Leader-Post reported. The main promoter of the idea was the dean of engineering, Prof. J.B. Mantle. The U of R’s Co-operative program was born, the first in Western Canada. The program is still running today, having helped thousands of students transition from university into the working world.

1977:  The U of R received a $40,000 federal grant to study the possible use of underground hot water to heat buildings. The project was led by Dr. Lawrence Vigrass, the director of the university’s energy research unit.

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