Filed Under Education

Stephen L. Richards Building

In 1965, amidst a rising student population and an increased interest in recreation, Brigham Young University opened the Stephen L. Richards Building. The "RB" provides courts and pools and has been host to a plethora of activities through the decades.

As the population of Brigham Young University increased in the latter-half of the 20th century, new facilities were being announced and constructed to accommodate growing numbers as part of BYU's "building boom." In 1965, as part of this boom, the Stephen L. Richards Building was opened. The “RB” is an athletic facility that houses multiple courts and olympic-sized pools. Recreational activities are held in the building, which at the time of its opening, seemed to be an ever-increasing necessity for students. Since its opening, it has become vital to the experience of many students. As one article read, “Students interested in exercise and intramural sports should become familiar with the Stephan [sic] L. Richards Building.” 

In the RB, a wide range of classes and activities have been offered to keep students busy. In 1970, classes included slimnastics, personal safety for women, senior life saving, and physical education for men. Around that same time, an outdoor camping workshop with intermittent adventures in the Uintas was offered. Additionally, many clubs met at the Richards Building. One club, the Orson Hyde club, met at the RB for an “Israeli folk dancing” activity. There was also a fencing club, Polynesian club, ski club, skydiving club, and Swedish club which utililized the building's facilities. 

In 1988, the RB hosted a special olympics, where students were able to volunteer. Discussions on health were also held in the RB on topics such as mental health, cardiovascular health and exercise, and physical education in public schools. Interestingly, in 1996, the RB was host to a juice booth in an effort to “promote the health benefits of drinking Florida orange juice.” Just a few years later in 2000, the RB put on a turkey trot in celebration of Thanksgiving. However, despite the range of activities offered through the decades, one of students’ favorite activities is the annual Midnight Madness, put on by BYU Student Wellness, where students come to watch and participate in an array of activities. In 2022, these activities included Zumba, Spin, High Fitness, basketball, volleyball, and a cannon-ball contest. To further entice students, Chip cookies and a soda bar were served. Student activity continues through the rest of the year, as well. The Richards Building is often packed during nights, especially Monday nights, when free play is available. True to its purpose, students continue to participate in recreational classes such as pickleball, basketball, and volleyball. 

Images

Stephen L. Richards Physical Education Building
Stephen L. Richards Physical Education Building In 1965, increasing student population and the popularity of recreational activity called for the construction of the Stephen L. Richards Physical Education Building. Source:

“[The Stephen L. Richards Physical Education Building, 1965].” 1965. UAP 2 Folder 259. Brigham Young University: 1000 views of 100 years. Public Domain, Courtesy University Archives, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. https://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/digital/collection/BYUPhotos/id/743/rec/1

The Infamous RB Stairs
The Infamous RB Stairs The RB stairs are used frequently by students to get from the Richards Building and the Smith Fieldhouse to the rest of campus. The stairs provide a cardio workout for anyone who climbs them. Source: “[The underpass to the Fieldhouse and the Richards Building, 1961].” 1961. UAP 2 Folder 243. Brigham Young University: 1000 views of 100 years. Public Domain, Courtesy University Archives, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. https://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/digital/collection/BYUPhotos/id/694/rec/7
Women’s Volleyball
Women’s Volleyball Still a popular feature in the Richards Building, volleyball nets are frequently used for classes and for group activities. Source: “[A gymnasium in the Richards Building, ca. 1965].” 1965. UAP 2 Folder 260. Brigham Young University: 1000 views of 100 years. Public Domain, Courtesy University Archives, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. https://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/digital/collection/BYUPhotos/id/746/rec/6
Diving in the RB
Diving in the RB Pictured are a few students diving in the pools in the Richards Building. Source: “[The natatorium in the Stephen L. Richards Physical Education Building, ca. 1965].” 1965. UAP 2 Folder 260. Brigham Young University: 1000 views of 100 years. Public Domain, Courtesy University Archives, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. https://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/digital/collection/BYUPhotos/id/747/rec/5
The Dedication of the Richards Building
The Dedication of the Richards Building A common practice of Brigham Young University, Apostles for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints attends the opening of each building and dedicates it through a special prayer asking for God’s blessing on the building. Source: “[General Authorities present at the dedication of the Stephen L. Richards Physical Education Building, November 5, 1965].” 1965. UAP 2 Folder 260. Brigham Young University: 1000 views of 100 years. Public Domain, Courtesy University Archives, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. https://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/digital/collection/BYUPhotos/id/749/rec/4
A Quote by Stephen L. Richards
A Quote by Stephen L. Richards Stephen L. Richards was an apostle for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Pictured is a bronze plaque with one of his quotations. Source: “[A bronze plaque bearing a quotation from Stephen L. Richards, ca. 1965].” 1965. UAP 2 Folder 261. Brigham Young University: 1000 views of 100 years. Public Domain, Courtesy University Archives, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. https://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/digital/collection/BYUPhotos/id/752/rec/8
Richards Building Pool
Richards Building Pool Pictured is the pool, including diving boards and lap pools, held in the Richards Building. Source: “Richards Building pool.” Ben P L. February 18, 2017. Via Wikimedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Richards_Building_pool_(32438344853).jpg

Location

Metadata

Lindsey Meza, Brigham Young University, “Stephen L. Richards Building,” Intermountain Histories, accessed May 18, 2024, https://www.intermountainhistories.org/items/show/731.