Oh the stories it could tell
The walls will come tumbling down on the historic Brown-Lupton Student Center in June, paving the way for a new academic building to be called Clarence and Kerry Scharbauer Hall. As we look back through its 53 years of campus life, think about the stories you could tell about the old student center and send them to us. We'll share them in a future issue.
By Rick Waters '95
1952 A Student Union Committee is appointed to plan the building of the long-awaited Student Center. Thomas F. Richardson serves as the committee chairman; M.J. Neeley as the trustee representative; and Ren Kent '54, Ellis Amburn '54, Tom Dennington '54, Irene Rountree Smith '53 and Jimmy Suggs '54 as student representatives.
Preston M. Geren architectural firm is hired to build the center. The estimated project cost is $1 million, a portion of which is paid by the Brown-Lupton Foundation.
1953 Contract bids are opened. Rambo Construction wins the general contract with their bid of $559,000.
Construction work begins on Sept. 29, 1953.
Amos Melton, head of TCU Information Services, declares in a Skiff article that this new air-conditioned building decorated with palm trees will be "the swankiest place you ever saw."
1955 The total structure, costing $1.2 million, is completed in January, and on March 25 the Brown-Lupton Student Center is officially dedicated. About 1,500 people attend the celebration held in the new ballroom.
1958 Festivities mark the fourth birthday of the Student Center in spring. The Symphonic Band, directed by Jim Jacobsen, plays in the ballroom. Dean T.R. Richardson cuts a cake replica of the Student Center and a game night ends with prizes totaling $80.
1959 A study conducted by a Student Congress committee results in three recommendations being adopted for the Snack Bar: Students should not play cards in that area between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., Snack Bar workers are to clear tables promptly to ensure faster service, and students are to decide what food they want to order before entering the line to make the line move faster.
1960 The Activities Council arranges the Student Center's birthday party around a circus theme. Activities include a bingo party, a College Bowl quiz matching students against professors, a birthday cake, a free flick and a sock hop.
Muzak, an uninterrupted music broadcasting system, is installed. A combination of soft music is chosen.
1961 This year's birthday celebration, sponsored by the Activities Council, is dubbed "Hawaiian Holiday." Linda Loftis cuts the birthday cake at Tuesday's "Beach Party" in the Snack Bar, followed by a student variety show. The Island Kings and a vocalist-hula dancer provide entertainment at Thursday's "Royal Hawaiian Entertainment."
The game room below Reed Hall is completed.
1962 The Skiff reports: "Flapper Fun Days" is the theme of this year's Student Center birthday bash. Activities include free coffee, a pool tournament, a bingo party, a variety show featuring a Charleston contest and a dance themed the "Peppermint Lounge." The Night Caps will play at the latter and there will be a twist dance.
1964 Coffee Conversation Corner, an annex to the Snack Bar, opened at the south end of Dave Reed Hall cafeteria. The room, which housed a coffee machine, was a quiet place for students to talk.
1966 TCU undertakes a $1 million expansion of the Student Center financed by the Brown-Lupton Foundation.
1967 Construction is completed in the fall. Two-story wings are added at the north and south ends of the building, and a large basement area is built.
1976 Mirrors are added to the hallway in the Student Center to make the room appear larger. Don Mills, director of Programs and Services, said "The effect of the mirrors is to explode space." Student opinion, though, is mixed; Pam Mahonchak '79 declares that, "It looks like something from Woolworth's."
1983 A new Student Center lounge is dedicated in January. About 100 people, including Chancellor Tucker, attend the ceremony. The House of Student Representatives partially sponsors this $23,000 project.
1989 The Information Desk in the Student Center now houses a public fax station, a prototype that cost $7,000. Users pay $4 for the first page, $2 for pages 2-10 and $1 for pages 11 and up when sending documents in the U.S.
1991 A security gate is installed at the Student Center and hours are extended.
2008 TCU Trustees vote to demolish the Student Center and replace it with a new academic building, Scharbauer Hall. The project, which is projected to take about 18 months to complete, will begin in June.
Send your memories of the Student Center to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by snail mail to TCU Box 298940, Fort Worth, TX 76129, or call 817.257.5059.
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