Skiles Classroom Building

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The Skiles Classroom Building

The Skiles Classroom Building is located on the campus of Georgia Institute of Technology across from the Price Gilbert Library, between Hemphill Avenue and Cherry Street NW. It is comprised of classrooms, teachers' offices, and special purpose rooms.


Overseers of the Project

Dr. Edwin D. Harrison - President of Georgia Institute of Technology

A. Thomas Bradbury - Architect

John E. Sims - Director, University Systems Building Authority

Claude A. Petty Jr. - Director, Physical Plant Department

F. Graham Williams - Owner of the brick company (F. Graham Williams Co.) used for the building

A.R. Briggs Co. of Macon - The General Contractors



Planning and building of the Skiles Classroom Building occurred between 1957 and 1959. The building was built to meet the needs of the expanding student body of Georgia Tech. The increase in students meant that there were no longer enough class rooms. The original plans of the building utilize 137,000 sq. ft. with 68 classrooms and 23 special purpose rooms to accommodate 2,300 students. [1].

There was a considerable amount of problems in the planning and construction of the building. On December 18, 1958, President Edwin D. Harrison wrote a letter to John C. Daniel, the field engineer of the building, about the issues concerning the building plans at that point. In the plans, the proposed auditorium, without a stage, was too small to be useful or worth the cost. There was also unnecessary centralized recording equipment in the plans. Classroom spaces were too small to house the number of students required from the building. Offices were too large for one person, while too awkward to fit two people. Originally, air conditioning was not included in the plan of the building and would have been expensive to add later. All these problems would have had to be fixed in order to serve the purpose of the building and make it worth while to build. [2] The air conditioning problem was solved easily enough. The mechanical engineers wanted a different type of air conditioning unit, but they were overruled by others working on the project, who decided on a pneumatically operated control system built only by one manufacturer to minimize problems with maintenance. [3] The auditorium was not included and the set up of classrooms and offices was changed.

There was a disagreement between the architect, A. Thomas Bradbury, and the brick supplier, F. Graham Williams Co., about the brick to be used on the building. The specified brick that was desired was the same type of brick used in the Price Gilbert library and the Architecture buildings that already existed at Tech. Even with these explicit intructions, there seemed to be a misunderstanding about the type of brick; shale or clay. [4] After correspondence back and forth, the incorrect brick was still delivered to the building site, but eventually the correct type of brick was delivered.


The ground breaking ceremonies for the site of the Classroom Building were held on Thursday, January 23, 1958. [5]

As of November 11, 1958, in a letter from Claude A. Petty Jr, one of the overseers of the project, to Dr. Harrison, the scheduled completion date for the classroom building was Jun 17th, 1959. However, the Acceptance Ceremonies of the Classroom Building were held November 17, 1959 [6] so the building was not completed on time.

The building was completed in 1959 and houses The School of Literature, Communication and Culture. [7]

Problems and Renovations After Completion

On February 11, 1960, a bid was opened for a Landscaping project for the area adjacent to the Classroom Building.

Within the first 6 months of the building being built, there were few problems. The biggest problem was that the hot water coils in the heating systems had burst, causing a leak. However, by the time of the Inspection on October 21, 1960 as part of the One Year Guarantee of the building, a number of problems had arisen. There were cracks in the interior and exterior of the building. More leaks had been found such as in the cooling tower, the heating units, the toilets, and the fountains. Doors were warped and were missing screws and hinges were loose. A few remote control switches were burned out, and ceiling tiles were falling out.


The building was called the Classroom Building until 1964 when it was renamed the W. V. Skiles Building in honor of late Executive Dean, William Vernon Skiles. [8]


  1. "Facts on the New Classroom Building. President Edwin Harrison Papers. UA003, Box 4, Folder 3.
  2. Source Summary: Changes to be Made to Classroom Building - Letter from Mr. Edwin Harrison
  3. Letter to Dr. Harrison dated Jan 10, 1958. President Edwin Harrison Papers. UA003, Box 4, Folder 3.
  4. Source Summary: Letter to Architect of Classroom Building
  5. President Edwin Harrison Papers. UA003, Box 4, Folder 3.
  6. Acceptance Ceremonies for the Classroom Building of the general college. President Edwin Harrison Papers. UA003, Box 4, Folder 3.
  7. "Buildings." School of LCC. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Dec 2010. <>.
  8. Source Summary: Classroom Building To Take Name of Late Dean W. Skiles

Christine Farsi J1

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