The Plex in 1987, shot from the roof of Higgins Hall, with the running track at right and the Mods and Edmond’s Hall beyond. (Photo: University Archives)

Shortly after the William J. Flynn Student Recreation Complex opened in 1972, it was described by one publication as reminiscent of “Wyoming’s Grand Teton range,” containing “cavernous dimensions beneath hyperbolic parabolas of North Carolina pine.” The article went on to observe that “the women’s sauna is toasty, while the men’s is on the fritz . . . vice versa for the hot water.” Published in Bridge magazine (BCM’s predecessor), that story may amount to the kindest thing that anyone ever said about the Plex. As early as 1989, University master plans began calling for the facility to be replaced, noting that it “is not of high-quality construction, and normal maintenance costs are accelerating.” The Plex is at last being razed this summer to make way for the state-of-the-art Margot Connell Recreation Center. Let us not forget, though, that for all its short-comings and eccentricities, the Plex had its charms, too. In its forty-seven years, the facility helped to improve the physical fitness of generations of students, and also played host to innumerable intercollegiate and intramural competitions, as well as gospel concerts, all-night walk-a-thons, Iyengar yoga and scuba diving classes, ROTC training sessions, and freshman casino nights.


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The Plex by the Numbers

15 million

The estimated number of times people passed through Plex turnstiles


The number of times people did so during the 2017–2018 academic year


Times that basketballs were checked out last year


Cubic feet of fresh air reported to have been pumped into the complex each minute in 1973