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OSU Buildings Histories in the Special Collections and Archives Research Center

Building History

An image of Dixon Rec Center from the side

This spot, from 1913 until 1953, was known as "The College Field," where the school played football. The field was later named Bell Field in 1921 to honor John Richard Newton Bell who was an official school mascot, known for tossing his top hat in Mary's River after Civil War victories. Dixon Recreation Center houses two cardio rooms, two weight rooms, two gyms, six racquetball courts, three squash courts, three multipurpose rooms, a 42-foot-tall climbing wall, one-tenth of a mile indoor track, 25-yard pool, a dive well, a hot tub, three sand volleyball courts and the Adventure Leadership Institute. Dixon Recreation Center construction was completed in 1976, with additions in 1993 and 2004. The building is named for Jim and Jeanette Dixon who were long time members of the Department of Physical Education and championed recreational sports. In 2019, a statue was erected in front of Dixon to honor Dick Fosbury, Oregon State graduate and Olympic gold medalist who revolutionized the high jump near the current Dixon building.

General Information


425 SW 26th St


Balzhizer, Rhodes, Smith, Longwood & Morgan Architects

Year Built



1993, 2004, 2018-19, 2023-24

Square Footage



Recreation Center

Previous Name(s)



Recreation Center

Historic District

Yes, noncontributing building


Facilities Services Records (RG 193) I. Architectural Drawings and Plans Individual Structures


Facilities Services Records, 1888-2003. Series XX:  Campus, Farm, and Property Maps, 1899-1990. Campus and Farm Maps: 3-A

Oregon State University Campus Maps, 1894-1994


Oregon State University Historical Photographs, 1868-1980

Further Archival Information

SCARC: The Special Collections and Archives Research Center contains personal papers and manuscripts, as well as the news and communication records which pertain to Dixon Recreation Center. Of note is the Memorabilia Collection, box 26.12, which contains newspaper clippings, promotional brochures, and a 1994 magazine titled "Athletic Business," all with information about Dixon.

Oregon Digital: Contains many historic photographs of Dixon Rec., both inside and out, as well as periodicals pertaining to the building itself.

OSU Rec Sports: Contains current maps of the interior of Dixon Rec Center.