In 1918, the simple gym was demolished by St. John’s University and the F. C. Copper Gymnasium was built on the exact site on November 15, 1919.


It was a two-storey building with a mixed structure: the four corners of the roof were curved, with chimneys erected on the four sides; under the large Chinese roof featuring upturned eaves, there were simple red brick facades with red wooden panes. The building inherited the architectural style of St. John’s in its early years. The east section of the ground floor of the gymnasium was a swimming pool with a glass canopy. It was about 18.29 meters long and 6.10 meters wide. The bottom and four walls of the pool were all built with white ceramic tiles, which were very rare at that time. It was the first indoor swimming pool in universities in Shanghai.


On May 25, 1949, one day before the liberation of Shanghai, when Chen Zhongxin, an organizing committee member of the Third Student Underground Party Branch of Xingwu Middle School, was on his way by bicycle to the headquarters of People’s Security Corps of Changning District located in St. John’s University for a meeting, he was shot dead (about 30 meters east to Gate3 of the Zhongshan Park, No. 1562 Wanhangdu Road)by the remnants of Kuomintang army that had retreated to the north bank of the Suzhou River. He was only 20 years old. On May 27, martyr Chen Zhongxin’s funeral was held in the Gymnasium. Chen Zhongxin was the last underground member of the Communist Party of China that sacrificed in the fight of Shanghai’s liberation.


In 1952, after the establishment of East China Institute of Politics and Law, the F. C. Copper Gymnasium was renamed the Gymnasium. In October, 2016, in order to fulfill its social responsibilities for the local community, ECUPL built a Sports Culture Museum inside the Gymnasium open to the public. More than 130 valuable collection items are on display in the museum, including the first ancient Olympic coin, the first official medal of honor for participants in the Olympic Games awarded to a Chinese national, the stele of Light and Truth from St. John’s University as well as tennis rackets, softball bats and baseball gloves once used by the alumni of St. John’s University.