Jimi Hendrix once performed there. So did Bruce Springsteen. But, in recent years, UC Santa Barbara’s Robertson Gymnasium, known affectionately as Rob Gym, had fallen into disrepair and required a facelift. Mission accomplished.
The “new” Rob Gym was unveiled this week, with an official grand reopening ceremony. Robertson Gymnasium opened in 1959 and served as the home for Gaucho athletic teams until the Events Center, also known as the Thunderdome, opened during the 1979-80 school year. The UCSB men’s volleyball team continues to use Rob Gym as its home court, however. The gym was named for Alfred W. Robertson, a former California assemblyman who was instrumental in the establishment of UC Santa Barbara in 1943.
Members of the men’s volleyball team were on hand for the official unveiling on Tuesday, February 17. Construction on the new Rob Gym began last September and the building was ready for classes and activities on Jan. 5, 2015. The old maple floor of the gym was repainted and refinished to original specifications. In addition, the ceiling received three coats — 400 gallons — of new paint. And new aluminum backboards replaced the 55-year-old steel backboards, which were recycled.
Rob Gym is the first of three projects funded by student fees. Upcoming projects include the renovation of Pauley Track and the construction of two all-weather turf fields with lights at Storke Field.