The Departmental Dorms were a collection of nine separate housing structures located between Avenues I and J, north of Twentieth Street. The dorms were part of the on-campus housing boom of the 1940s-1950s that included many of the small houses and the nearby Houston, Rix, Wilson, and Frels apartments buildings along Avenue I.
Built over ther course of two years and collectively known as "Departmental," the dorms allowed students majoring in similar disciplines to live, study, and interact more closely with others outside the classroom setting. Each building was known through a lettering system, as well as having an individual name honoring an educator from that field of study (e.g. biology, agriculture, or business):
A 1977 Houstonian article said that because of the attention the housing complex was receiving at the time, the men living in the dorms felt it should have a more appropriate name. "At present, the Hall Council is planning a contest...to choose a new name. Perhaps when students return in the fall, Departmental Dorms will have a more acceptable name." It is unknown if anything ever was decided upon, though it seems doubtful.
The four northernmost dorms were razed in 1982 in preparation for construction of the General Purpose Classroom building.
In subsequent years it appears the departmental concept was dropped and, by the 1990s, the dorms had become coed (the Residence Life website notes its four dorms housed 168 residents and maintained "certain blocks for male and female smokers"). In the early 1990s the fifth building was used for Residence Life offices.
In 2000 the remaining five buildings were demolished and Academic Building 4 was built on the site.
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