History of Brooks Hall

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  • News Photo 3357
Feb. 3, 2006

Contact: Lori Fogleman (254) 710-6275

• Built in 1921 at a cost of $365,000.

• Original name: "Men's Dormitory." That changed in 1923, when the structure was named "Brooks Hall" after Baylor President Samuel Palmer Brooks, who served from 1902-1931.

• First residents: Football players who needed to be on campus for practices two weeks before classes began.

• Current residents: 230 freshmen and upperclassmen.

• Description of current facility: The hall is built around a central courtyard, and its distinctive entry archway is one of Baylor's unique architectural features. The interior of the building is divided into small sections that tend to create a quieter, more private environment for the residents.

Quick hits:

• Although five stories tall, Brooks Hall does not have an elevator.

• In the fall of 1965, air conditioning was added to Brooks Hall.

• The fifth floor has been closed since 1987.

Other interesting facts:

• In spring 1943, the Army announced it would begin operating a Specialized War Training School on the Baylor campus on May 10, about three weeks before the regularly scheduled graduation. Since the soldiers were to occupy Brooks Hall, the civilian students living there would have to move. To avoid confusion and disruption, President Pat Neff moved graduation to May 9, making up the time by extending classes by 30 minutes and adding Saturday and evening classes. Just a few hours before the Army rolled onto the campus, 442 graduates received their degrees.

• In fall 1944 when the Army left campus, civilian students reoccupied Brooks Hall, and the men's dormitory cafeteria was reopened to them. Food service had been available to male civilian students in the dining facilities of the Woman's Memorial Dormitory.

• In 1963, Baylor's ROTC headquarters were moved temporarily into Brooks Hall, as Interstate 35 construction through Waco cut off a corner of the campus on Eighth Street and Dutton Avenue.

• In 1987, administrators considered changing Brooks Hall from a residence hall to an administrative building. The cost of renovating the facility to meet fire code standards was $1.5 million, but the cost of converting it to administrative offices would have been about $3.1 million. So, Brooks Hall was renovated.

SOURCES: "To Light the Ways of Time: An Illustrated History of Baylor University 1845-1996" by Eugene W. Baker. "Between the Lines" August 2005, Baylor Alumni Association. Campus Living & Learning website: http://www.baylor.edu/cll.

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