BGSU Historic Campus Tour
University Hall is, perhaps, the most recognizable building on the grounds of Bowling Green State University. The Board of Trustees intended for the building to be the focal point of campus when they appropriated funds for its construction in 1911 and University Hall has served a variety of functions throughout its protean existence. Initially, the building contained the auditorium, library, classrooms, and special quarters for home economics, industrial arts, and music. Over the years, the building has also housed the University's first basketball court, Recreation Hall, and Theater.
Listed below are additional highlights in the history of the building:
- In 1911, the General Assembly of Ohio appropriates $150,000 for the construction in northwest Ohio of two buildings to house a college (University and Williams Halls).
- January 20, 1913, Attorney General approves contract for construction of an Administration Building (University Hall).
- 1913, Original plans established to provide for 25 classrooms, science laboratories, library, small auditorium, heating plant, President's offices.
- 1913, an additional $41,000 appropriated to provide for plans for a larger auditorium, the addition of a gymnasium under the auditorium, an increase in the number of classrooms, and the elimination of the science laboratories and heating plant.
- 1915, building opened.
- Early 1920s, pavement and traffic circle added in front of building to replace the boardwalks, dirt streets, and muddy paths predominant on the grounds.
- 1929, College of Liberal Arts and Education established in building, thus allowing for the conversion of the college to a University by 1935.
- 1932, the words "Bowling Green State College" replace the older moniker on the front of the building "Bowling Green State Normal College."
- 1946, main stairs at the back of the building closed to enlarge bookstore.
- 1947, renovation enlarges business offices.
- 1959, campus bookstore removed from building to occupy the south end of newly-opened University Union.
- 1960, English Department and Math classes moved to University Hall, Journalism Department and BG News still there, as well as University Placement office, and Financial Aid offices.
- 1960, Recreation Hall in basement changed to theater; now Joe E. Brown Theater.
- 1961, Gate Theatre was razed and replaced by a new theatre, built on the ground floor of University Hall, in the space where Recreation Hall had been located. It was dedicated in 1961 as the Joe E. Brown Theatre, honoring the Holgate, Ohio-born comedian, stage and film star. His last performance in the lead role in Harvey was at the university with a cast of students in 1959.
- 1962, the business, administrative, and student offices moved out of building.
- 1963, offices for the Bursar, Housing, Administration, Registrar, Deans, Financial Aid, and Placement Departments relocated to the new Administration Building, University Hall to house only classes and a few Academic departments, such as English.
- 1974, main auditorium finished and opened
- 2003, Language Learning Center renovations.
- 2003 and 2004, project to upgrade finishes and lighting in corridors and classrooms, update some electrical, repair breezeway windows and doors, and address fire and safety issues.
- 2005, classroom renovations.