Rex Activity Center recognized by Colorado Preservation, Inc.


rex activity center building photo

The Colorado Preservation, Inc.'s 23nd Annual Dana Crawford Award Celebration, in May at the History Colorado Center, honored Adams State University's efforts to preserve the exterior of the historic Rex Activity Center.

Adams State Bill Mansheim, vice president for finance and governmental relations, attended the event and accepted the CPI's State Honor Award for the historic building's exterior rehabilitation, completed with assistance from History Colorado's State Historical Fund. The award was presented during the annual award ceremony, which was established in 1988 and recognizes accomplishments in the areas of preservation, rehabilitation, promotion, philanthropy and leadership.

Rex Activity Center History

Constructed in 1938-39 through Public Works Administration project funds, Rex Activity Center was originally built as Adams State's first free standing gymnasium. The college's first president, Dr. Ira Richardson, wished to acknowledge and celebrate the Hispanic culture of the San Luis Valley, and had the gym, along with the President's Residence, now known as the Marvel House, and three dorms built in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, by the accomplished Denver architect, the late William Norman Bowman. The former dorm buildings have been demolished.

The Rex, named for Clifford P. Rex, who served on the Board of Trustees of State Normal Schools from 1925-1949, stood vacant for 30 years after construction of Plachy Hall. After a capital fee was passed by students in 1995, Rex was remodeled for an on-campus fitness center.


In 2007, a State Historical Fund grant of $25,000, funded by limited stakes gambling taxes, supported a planning project to evaluate and analyze the deteriorating stucco, paint and the methods of the early construction, as well as later patch jobs on the exterior of the Rex. The original appearance of the building was researched and methods were developed for the safe removal of detrimental materials and application of new materials to replicate the appearance and function of the originals.

In 2009, Adams State received an additional $198,000 from the State Historical Fund for exterior improvements to Rex, including a new stucco finish coat in the original texture and brick cleaning and repair. Adams State matched the grant with $100,000. Architect Belinda Zink created the construction documents and supervised the exterior rehabilitation of the Rex. Tawney Becker, now Adams State grant specialist, assisted with writing the grant.