Open Date - 1967
Capactiy - 1,200
Sports - Basketball, Volleyball
The Robert J. Ashcroft Center serves the Evangel University athletic department and kinesiology department. Named for J. Robert Ashcroft, the president of Evangel from 1958 to 1974, the building is the home of Crusader basketball and volleyball while housing the varsity athletic weight room and locker rooms for football as well.
The Evangel Gymnasium was renamed the Dr. J. Robert Ashcroft Activities Center in 1986. It is home to the Crusaders and seats 1,200. The original gym seating arrangement contained nearly 1,800 seats, but a renovation to the mezzanine level added chair-back seats on the south side and a video and multifunctional area on the north side.
The Ashcroft Center was designed by John Moore of Warren and Goodin Engineers-Architects, Inc. The structure is readily identifiable from a distance due to its unique roof. Though the roof (a hyperbolic paraboloid thinshell) may appear weak, Moore assured the Evangel faithful that it is quite strong.
According to Moore, cyclonic winds blew through the construction site before the building was completed and couldn’t budge the partially-completed roof. Those same winds tore the roof off the Zenith plant east of Evangel!
Construction on the gym began in 1965 and was completed a year later by DeWitt-Newton, Inc. The building was designed after an airport terminal that had been constructed in Texas.
The first game in the newly-completed structure was against Missouri Valley College on Nov. 17, 1967. The Ashcroft Center had a successful inauguration and its first 100-point game as the Crusaders defeated Missouri Valley, 100-78.
It's arched roof and pointed spires, which reach 43 feet, make it a unique architectural landmark on the university's campus. Routinely producing sellouts, the 1,200 seat Ashcroft Center has long been regarded as one of the loudest buildings with an excellent sports atmosphere in small college sports. Located in the northwest section of campus the Ashcroft Center replaced the former home of Crusader basketball, O'Riley Gymnasium on the corner of Glenstone and Division.
From I-44 West: Coming from St. Louis I-44 West: Take I-44 west toward Tulsa and take the exit marked 80B Glenstone Ave....take a left(south) onto Glenstone Ave. and continue past Karney Street until you see Division. Take the first right after Division which will take you into the University. Take this road straight down Park drive and take a left on Pine Lane. Up the hill is where you will park for the event.
From Tulsa/Joplin I-44 East: Take I-44 east toward St. Louis and take the exit marked 80A Glestone Ave.....the off ramp takes you onto Glenstone Ave south. Continue on Glenstone Ave past Kearney Street until you see Division. Take the first right after Division which will take you into the University. Take this road straight down Park drive and take a left on Pine Lane. Up the hill is where you will park for the event.
From the South (Highway 65): Traveling north on highway 65 exit at Division Street/Missouri Hwy. YY ... Follow for 2.2 miles and turn left (south) on N. Glenstone Ave. ... Take the first right after Division which will take you into the University. Take this road straight down Park drive and take a left on Pine Lane. Up the hill is where you will park for the event.