UT then and now
A look at the construction of the buildings on main campus
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The cohesive collegiate Gothic architecture of the University of Toledo deserves appreciation. Not may schools can claim to be as aesthetically pleasing as ours. Walking onto campus is like entering a city all our own. Some buildings are original to UT and have been around for 80 years, while others much shorter. Yet whichever building you walk into, you get that surge of pride knowing this is definitely UT.
The University of Toledo was founded in 1872. Prior to constructing the current campus, classes were held downtown in schools and churches. Memorial Field House and University Hall were the first buildings on campus.
Arguably, one of the best views of campus is seen when driving up Drummond Road when the sun has set and the moonlight hits U Hall just right. U Hall was built in 1931, meaning 85 years worth of students have walked up the steep stairs, confused about how to reach the sixth floor, already out of breath after the third flight.
“When I was here during my undergrad studies, I always did, and still do love U Hall. It was such a unique structure with crazy rooms, and hallways and courtyards. It was like a castle that had a secret to find every time you’d visit it,” wrote Nicholas Kissoff, associate professor and director of the Construction Engineering Technology Program and UT alumnus.
Kissoff earned three degrees from UT in 1980, 1983 and 1988. After graduating, Kissoff worked at SSOE, an engineering and architectural firm in Toledo, before returning to UT to teach. While at SSOE, Kissoff was on the team that designed the Glass Bowl renovation in 1991.
The Glass Bowl was built in 1937, making it 79 years old. It has since been renovated, but it is still the original building, meaning it holds lots of special moments for past and present Rockets.
“I have gotten to see quite a few great moments there over the years with UT football. I saw Chuck Ealey run around end vs. Miami to win the MAC in 1970 when I was 12,” Kissoff wrote.
Before the Student Union was built in 1959, Libby Hall served as the Student Union. According to Barbara Floyd, university archivist, in 1976 the SU went through a big addition, and again in 1993.
Among the dorms on campus, Scott and Tucker Halls are the oldest, built in 1935. The most recent dorms are Ottawa East and West, both built in 2005.
If your dad is a proud UT alumnus like mine, he will absolutely remind you every time he is on campus that Memorial Field House used to be the basketball arena. FH was constructed in 1931 and served as the basketball arena until Savage Arena was built in 1975. In 2008, FH was renovated into the building it is today: a magnet for campus tour guides. Reasonably so, with its unique structure of exposed beams and high glass ceilings.
Before FH was renovated, it served as a storage area and was not well maintained. Floyd said there was a discussion of whether or not to tear the building down entirely, but it was eventually decided to instead renovate it and preserve such a historical building.
One of the biggest changes current students have seen are the Carlson Library renovations that took place this past summer. Carlson was constructed in 1973, and prior to this summer, the third and fourth floor of the library had not been updated since it was constructed. Renovations on the library will continue in January throughout the rest of the school year.
The engineering campus did not exist until 1995. The Health and Human Services building used to serve as the Engineering Science building. Bowman-Oddy Laboratories were constructed in 1966 and Wolfe Hall was added 30 years later in 1997. The first building on The Health Science Campus, the Educare Center, was built in 1965. The most recent building on the campus is the Center for Creative Education (the simulation center), built in 2014.
Whether it’s the Instagrammable Bell Tower overlooking campus, the open concept of Field House’s third floor, the grand steps leading into the student union, or the way Bowman-Oddy looks with a dusting, or 2 feet, of snow around it, each building has the stamp of UT.
Some buildings have 80 years worth of history and some have history yet to be made, but what all these storied buildings have in common are the footprints they hold of future doctors, writers, engineers, educators, scientists, nurses, journalists and so many more.