President Henry Bennett convinced the state legislature that a building was necessary to provide space for the thousands who gathered on campus each summer for the annual 4-H Club state meeting. Large outdoor tents had been used, but Bennett insisted that the 4-H Club members and Oklahoma A&M College would be better served by a combination building which could be used for athletics events as well as meetings and activities. Dubbed the "Madison Square Garden of the West" the field house was under construction in 1938. While detractors had labeled the venture a prime example of "overbuilding," as soon as the facility opened in 1939 it became obvious that there was not enough space for the student body sports enthusiasts, let alone the off-campus visitors. Care had been exercised in referring to the building officially as the "4-H Club and Student Activity Building," but on February 3, 1939, it was dedicated to wrestling coach Edward C. Gallagher. From that time, students, alumni, and the media referred to the building as Gallagher Hall. After extensive renovations, the building was rededicated in 1988 to honor basketball coach Henry Iba as well and renamed Gallagher-Iba Arena.