Standing directly across Market Street from the Court 17 Apartments, on the site of the original Longshoremen’s Union Hall (1952; demolished 2013), the University Y Student Center is the result of a partnership between the University of Washington Tacoma and the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap counties. With an exterior of concrete, corrugated steel cladding, and large expanses of glass, the building makes few obvious visual connections to the university’s repurposed brick buildings down the hill to the east. However, its four-story rectangular mass anchors the southeast corner of 17th and Market streets and provides much needed space for student recreation and physical fitness.
The University Y Student Center features basketball courts, exercise rooms, aerobic equipment, weights, a climbing wall, and a running track on the upper level that encircles the open space directly below. The building also holds offices and meeting rooms for campus organizations. Much of the east-facing Market Street side has a glass curtain wall to take advantage of the views of campus and Commencement Bay. From the southeast end of the upper floor, one can see Mount Rainier on clear days.