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Tremendous Building Boom Hits MSU Campus - Missoulian Centennial Edition 1960

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Tremendous Building Boom Hits MSU Campus

At mid-century upon the inauguration of Carl McFarland, Montana State University alumnus, as president, the University was to experience another building boom.

In 1952 under President McFarland construction of a 250-man dormitory was begun March 17, and was dedicated in February 1953. The dormitory, named Craig after the University’s first president, was financed by a $750,000 loan from the federal government, which was to be repaid over a 40-year period out of net earnings and income from the dormitory system.

$1,700,000 Program

Next to be completed were the Music, Liberal Arts and Women’s Center buildings. These were built from the University’s share - $1,700,000 – of the $5,000,000 building bond issue vote in 1948.

The dominant exterior feature of the $675,342 Music building, dedicated in May 1953, is the west wall, comprising huge louvres of Indiana limestone so arranged to admit a maximum of north light but to keep the building cool in warm weather.

Dedicated in 1954

The Liberal Arts building facing the oval was constructed in an L-shape to house the University’s department of English, speech and drama, foreign languages, history and government, economics, sociology, social work, and psychology and philosophy. The structure, costing approximately $700,000, was dedicated in January 1954 by Gov. John W. Bonner.

The Women’s Center was built to house the departments of home economics and physical education for women. The $550,000 structure was dedicated in September 1953 by Mrs. J. Hugo Aronson.

Construction of the $800,000 Field House, enabled by legislation passed by the 1949 session of the Legislature, made it possible to assemble the student body under one roof. The Field House was opened Dec. 18, 1953, when the Grizzlies played a basketball game with the Indiana Hoosiers before some 6,500 fans. The structure is financed without use of state funds under a revenue bond issue. In May, 1956, the state board of education entered into an agreement for the issuance of $200,000 additional revenue to finance equipment and also a skating rink, bowling alleys and storage equipment.

In June, 1954, the Missoula Lions Club and the Missoula Saddle Club agreed to cooperate with the Field House in a building program which resulted in storage space.

The same year work was launched on a $50,000 skating rink fashioned after the famous all-year rink at Sun Valley, Idaho. It was half the size of a regulation hockey arena. Central Board, student governing body, voted 8-1 to go ahead with the rink, financing it on a self-amortizing basis.

In February 1955, the $565,000 Lodge, student union building, was dedicated. By the fall of 1956 the construction of an addition to the Lodge food service was completed. The combination of new union facilities with the food service was the proposal of President McFarland.

Planetarium Presented

In June 1955, the Scheuch Memorial Planetarium was formally presented to the University by William M. Allen, president of Boeing Airplane Co. He was a 1922 University graduate. The Women’s Club-Art building was remodeled to accommodate the hemisphere of the planetarium. It was named for Prof. Frederick C. Scheuch, a member of the original faculty, University vice president and acting president.

In 1956 additions to Craig Hall and Corbin Hall were begun. In May 1957, students began moving into 17 units of the three-quarter of a million dollar x-shaped three-story apartment buildings for use by married students. The apartments contain 120 units.

The $230,500 Health Center, a 70 by 100 foot two-story masonry building located at the east end of the 600 block on Eddy avenue, was completed fall quarter, 1955. And the $226,275 addition to the library, approximately 60 by 100 feet, with five floors including the basement was completed.

The $250,000 swimming pool located next to Glacier Ice Rink opened May 29, 1958, built without cost to the state taxpayers. The pool is 50 feet wide and 75 feet long and holds 220,000 gallons of water.

The City Commission passed an ordinance in June 1957 closing four blocks of Maurice avenue as requested by President McFarland. The decision was the climax of two years of discussion, argument and litigation.

Newburn Appointed

In March 1959, 58-year-old Dr. Harry Newburn, president of the Educational Television and Radio Center at Ann Arbor, Mich., was appointed president of the University to succeed acting President Gordon B. Castle.

Under President Newburn, a new dial system at the University began serving more than 500 extensions in and around campus in August 1959. This was more extensions than are required to serve the individual communities of Superior, Terry, Bridger, Philipsburg or Fort Peck.

In October President Newburn announced that repair and renovation of the west stands in Dornblaser Stadium would be undertaken in the spring. In July it was announced that the student fee increase would pay in part for the bond issue for the proposed health and medical research building with $1,250,000 to come from the fees and $230,000 from the federal government. No state tax money would be used to erect and equip the building, which would be situated west of the Chemistry-Pharmacy building.

In January, 1960, the Community Facilities Administration authorized a $19,537 advance to finance additional planning of the Law School building. That same month the Federal Community Facilities Administration approved a $33, 038 advance to plan an addition to the Liberal Arts building.