Recreation Building or, as it is more commonly known, Rec Hall is Penn State's busiest and most versatile athletics venue, as five varsity teams which participate throughout all three collegiate seasons, call it home. Located in the heart of the University Park campus, the historic structure hosts events for Nittany Lion men's and women's volleyball, men's and women's gymnastics, and wrestling. Until 1996, Rec Hall also served as the home of Penn State basketball.
When the construction of Rec Hall was completed in 1928, it was considered one of the premiere field houses in the nation. Originally budgeted at $450,000, the final cost of the building amounted to $572,260. The architect, Charles Z. Klauder, also designed the University of Pennsylvania's Palestra, which was constructed in 1927. The Colonial Georgian design was thought to "harmonize" with other new structures on campus. The excavating work required the removal of 12,500 cubic yards of earth and 400 cubic yards of rock, most of which had to be dynamited. The structural work consisted of raising 800 tons of steel in the form of assembled trusses. The project employed 250 people.
The first addition to Rec Hall was completed in 1953 at a cost of $1,021,310. A 100-foot expansion of the arena was part of the 1963-64 renovation and increased seating capacity from 5,000 to 7,200. Scoreboards, especially designed for Rec Hall and adaptable to several sports, also were installed. Recent adjustments in seating have reduced the capacity to 6,502.
Rec Hall has been the site of 21 collegiate national championships (NCAA, AIAW and DGWS), 16 international gymnastics meets, 12 NCAA and AIAW women's basketball championship tournament games (in addition to the '76 AIAW Tournament), five National Invitation Tournament games, the first-ever Big Ten men's and women's gymnastics dual championship and scores of eastern regional and conference championship competitions.
Penn State has won five national championships in Rec Hall: boxing (1929 and 1932), wrestling (1953) and men's gymnastics (1960 and 2007).