Pioneer Hall is a building designed for the TWU athletics department and to place the whole kinesiology department under one roof. It was built in the 1990s, and is home to many features including an Olympic-sized indoor pool, and a track, as well as kinesiology classrooms. Its Kitty Magee Arena is named after alumni Katherine “Kitty” Magee who did much to expand women’s sports and raise scholarship funds for student athletes.
Backstory and Context
Pioneer Hall was commissioned and built by the TWU administration in 1996 under TWU University President Carol Surles. Pioneer Hall was originally built to give the kinesiology, dance, exercise/sports nutrition and intramural programs more space and newer classrooms. Prior to Pioneer Hall being built the kinesiology department was split between five different buildings. Pioneer Hall was designed to house “all the curricula that involves the science of human movement” under one roof. It is 143,000 square feet and it cost $17 million to build. Part of the reason for that large space is because the Kitty Winter Magee Arena is a competitive sized gym that can be split into three smaller gyms. Kitty Winter Magee Arena is also used to host TWU graduations.
Pioneer Hall houses many diverse athletic areas and areas for studying movement. In addition to the Kitty Winter Magee Arena, Pioneer Hall include, training rooms, locker rooms, a bio mechanics lab, racquetball courts, a weight room, offices, and some of the dance rooms. The Pioneer Hall allowed TWU to gain an indoor pool, for aquatic classes year round. The natatorium is a six to eight lane pool with a diving area, it can be split so that more than one group can use the pool at the same time. The bio mechanics lab has the technology to analyze movement.
The Kitty Winter Magee Arena in Pioneer Hall is named after former TWU alumni and faculty member Katherine “Kitty” Magee. Magee got her bachelor's degree from TWU in 1934 and her master’s degree in 1938, and then went on to become a TWU professor. She worked to elevate women’s sports to the level of organized intercollegiate athletics. She was a founding member of the Texas Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (TCIAW). This organization led to many other women's athletic organizations. Magee also co-founded the TWU Pioneer Club, a group dedicated to raising scholarship funds for student athletes; which has since been turned into the Athletics Scholarship Fund. She was a TWU associate professor until her retirement in 1981.
Women’s sports have changed a lot since Kitty Magee’s time, they have risen in prominence and have expanded what counts as a sport. At the dedication of Pioneer Hall alumni Jane Pool spoke about how when she went to TWU in 1946, the women’s basketball team couldn’t wear shorts and were only allowed to use half the court. The rules for women’s sports changed over time as women’s sports gained more recognition as actual sports. Pioneer Hall allows for continued expansion and study of women’s sports; and it allows the kinesiology department to grow and continue making discoveries. TWU has won numerous championships in Kitty Winter Magee Arena including 10 years of Gymnastics championships. TWU has the only varsity level intercollegiate gymnastics program in Texas.
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