Completed in 1973, the McDowell Activity Center is a physical education-recreation facility designed to promote lifelong activities. This physical activity center provided a gymnasium area for basketball and volleyball, locker rooms, a swimming pool, the first racquetball court, and office space. A 1986-1987 addition provided a locker room, wrestling area, weight training and athletic training areas, classrooms, athletic department offices, and equipment storage.
After 2000 the facility was named the McDowell Activity Center for Harley and Margaret McDowell, operators of a popular Bismarck drive-in, the Big Boy. The McDowells promoted leisure activities for the health and well-being of residents of the region and held a deep interest in the welfare of young people.
Bortke Court: In July 2009, during the University's 50th anniversary year, the gymnasium's maple sports floor system was named Bortke Court in recognition of highly respected athletic director (1973-2008) and basketball coach, Al Bortke and his wife Linda. Student athletes found faithful support and encouragement in Al and Linda Bortke.
In addition to Marauder basketball, volleyball, and wrestling, commencements were held in the McDowell Activity Center from 1974 through 1993, when the ceremony became too large for the facility. It also accommodates such activities as the annual Prayer Day since 1979 and the freshman convocation of welcome since 1996. A Marauder Hall of Fame and sports trophy corridor links the McDowell Activity Center to the Leach Field House.