Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History
John Baronian Field House, 1895
The John Baronian Field House was built over the existing field house in 1986 to upgrade the athletics facilities at the Medford Campus Ellis Oval. It was named after John Baronian, A1950, a trustee, founder of the Tufts Jumbo Club, and president of the Tufts Alumni Association from 1972 to 1982. While at Tufts, Baronian was an all-star linebacker for the football team.
The original field house was built around 1885 when university officials decided to build an athletic field on the current site of the Ellis Oval. The field house was burnt down by vandals soon after its completion, but was replaced in the early 1920's by a surplus barrack used by soldiers during World War One. The barrack was renovated to include locker room facilities for men's sports, and showers were added so that athletes would not have to trek to the gym after sporting events.
By the middle of the 1980s, the field house was beginning to fall apart, and was not large enough to house facilities for both men's and women's teams. There was no room for game officials, and the showers and toilets often did not work.
The new facility, which cost $850,000, included two large locker rooms and two smaller ones, men's and women's shower and bathroom facilities, a meeting room, a game official room, and a small first aid center. Bond Brothers of Somerville handled all of the construction, which was initiated with a groundbreaking ceremony that included the detonation of a buried charge of dynamite by Baronian and Tufts president Jean Mayer.
As of 2000, the Baronian Field House still functions as a locker room facility for both male and female athletic teams competing at Ellis Oval and nearby athletic fields.