The Evolution of Georgia Tech's Campus

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Georgia Tech has gone through several large growth periods in its evolution. These periods range from 1888 through 1942, 1943 through 1965, 1965 through 1980, and 1980 through the present.[1] All these periods were integral in Tech’s growth, however some were more important than others.


Contents

1888-1942

1908 Campus Map

Georgia Tech changed very little from 1888 until 1942, as it was still a rather small school. The student body was composed mainly of males because it was generally not accepted for women to attend school. “The Ratio” was even worse than it is now, as hard as that may be to believe.

Due to Tech’s small size, there was no need for an extensively large campus. As one can see from the from the first source, campus was basically contained within the boundaries outline by what are now North Avenue, Cherry Street, Techwood Drive, and Bobby Dodd Way. The “Athletic Field,” now the location of Bobby Dodd Stadium, occupies roughly the same amount of area as the current day stadium does, however it was a multi-use facility. The campus experienced very little growth previous to 1920, but several large changes occurred after this year.

Despite the Great Depression and later World War II, Tech grew relatively quickly during this period. Although it was still a small university, Tech anticipated growth and built several new dormitories including Howell, and Cloudman during the period between 1921 and 1943. The first official bleachers were also built along the lengths of the football field. Tech occupied roughly five percent of the land area it does now, not including satellite campuses in France and Savannah.[2]

1943-1965

During this period, Tech experienced some of its most important growth. With an influx of students after World War II due to the recently passed G.I. Bill which basically said the government would pay for college [3], Georgia Tech needed more facilities. One of the most important of these new additions was the construction of the library. Students now had a place to congregate and focus on studies other than in the dorms of academic buildings. Not only was the Library a new a valuable addition, but the current Electrical and Computer Engineering Building and several dorms including Glenn, Towers, Matheson, and Hopkins were also added to Tech’s campus.[4]

These additions, the Library and extra dorms, were incredibly valuable to Tech if expansion was desired. Extra living space and a communal area with reference books and study areas fostered the growth of the student body during the period immediately following the war. Not only academic buildings were constructed during this era though, the basketball coliseum was also built. Tech had acquired a field during the previous growth period, and an an indoor arena was in order to foster Tech’s once dominant basketball teams growth. Hopefully basketball this season is where it once was, winning championships. This period of growth continued through the 1950s and through half of the 1960s. Unfortunately, several of the buildings constructed during this time period have been torn down due to campus modernization, but the important ones still remain.

1965-1980

Howey Physics Building

The growth during the years between 1965 and 1980 was less than that of the previous period, but only by a small amount. The significant part about this period of growth is the length of time most of the buildings have been around. Very few buildings from this period have been destroyed and almost all remain. Most of these buildings are close to forty years old ,and still do the job they were initially intended to do. Another unique observations about the buildings constructed during this era is that most of them are “major-specific,” meaning that they were constructed just for a particular major. An example of this would be the Howey Physics Building and the College of Architecture Building. In previous years, buildings were built as general purpose buildings with a potential “lean” to one major or another.

Another important addition to the campus during this era was the expansion of the library and majority of the West Campus dorms and the West Campus parking deck. This growth period marked the start of an important growth in Tech’s numbers due to desegregation in schools and the end of the Vietnam War. Higher education gained value in this era and Tech’s growth can document that.

1981-Present

Easily the largest and most extensive growth period in Tech’s long history, this period makes Tech what it is today and what it will be in the years to come. The period between 1980 and the present saw several large events that triggered building projects, the most important being the construction of the CRC, or Campus Recreation Center.
Georgia Tech Campus Recreational Center
When the Summer Olympics came to Atlanta in 1996, Tech was asked to build an Olympic sized pool for the athletes to compete in. Not only did Tech build the pool, but built an entire recreational facility around the pool, complete with sports courts, and indoor tracks, and a weight room.

The next most important development during this era was the construction of Technology Square. Now, Technology Square is not only home to the College of Management, but also contains several important buildings for the students. One example of this is the Barnes and Noble Bookstore, where students are able to purchase all of their textbooks. There are also several lecture halls for not only management students, but students in other classes such as CS 1371. Technology Square also contains several establishments including restaurants and a hair salon. Of the restaurants, the students would most like say that Waffle House is the most important, as most students frequent this establishment around four in the morning after parties on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.

With the number of cars on the road and the number of students who had cars on campus rising, Tech was forced to build several parking decks during this period. These include Peter’s parking deck, the North Campus parking deck, and the Student Center parking deck. The student center was also renovated and expanded during this time. Several academic buildings were also built during this time period. The Callaway Manufacturing Research Center, Instructional Center, College of Computing, and Klaus Advanced Computing Building are just a few examples. The Klaus Computing Building is an engineering marvel in itself with rainwater retention facilities and toilets that are eco-friendly. As one can see, this era was by far the most important for Tech’s growth because it will foster Tech students for many years to come and allow them, if they choose, to excel when they make use of the wonderful facilities.

References

  1. http://history.library.gatech.edu/archive/files/figure-1_june2002-_caa333fdc6.pdf
  2. Source Summary: Campus Maps 1900-1919
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G.I._Bill
  4. Source Summary: Campus Maps: 1950-1959

Sources

Construction Periods

Present Day Campus Map

Source Summary: Campus Maps 1900-1919

Source Summary: 1908 Georgia School of Technology Campus Map

Source Summary: Campus Maps: 1950-1959

Source Summary: 1968 Georgia Tech Campus Map

Source Summary: Campus Master Planning Bulletin (Vol.1, Issues 1-4)

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