The Estill Building is an office building located at the southern end of the historic quadrangle and is currently the fourth oldest building on campus. It was built as the university’s second library and was later used for departmental offices and classrooms.
By the 1920s, the university's two-decade-old Peabody Library had become overcrowded. While the need for larger facilities was great, securing financial assistance from the Legislature and governor in Austin had proven difficult – until Estill himself stepped in. Having fought for the necessary funds, the $225,000 library opened in 1930 and named in grateful acknowledgement to the man who fought for its creation.
Historian Dan Utley described the building with its Classical and Renaissance Revival features as "an eclectic, classically styled building that anchors the south side of the quadrangle."Around the perimeter of the exterior facade walls are the names of prominent authors "chosen by faculty members who were asked to submit names which they favored for their literary significance ." From east to west are Cervantes, Homer, Tolstoi, Hugo, Poe, Goethe, Virgil, and Shakespeare. Scripture from the Book of John above the north entrance reads, "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall me you free."
The reading room, with its high ceiling and 20-foot tall windows, was located on the second floor. In addition to the general stacks, students could access the Joseph L. Clark Texas Room, where the college had assembled one of the largest collections Texas history and culture in the state. These materials would go on to form the core of the special collections in the current library's Thomason Room. The statue of Athena, once displayed in Old Main, was moved here to watch over the reading room.
In 1948 the Department of Art moved to the third floor of the library; the statue of Athena moved upstairs into studio space but was ultimately was stored away and forgotten until the renovations to the building in the mid-1990s. The Art department would eventually migrate over to the Thomason Building in the late-1950s, move to studio space north of campus during the 1960s, return to the Estill Building in the fall of 1970, and again vacant this building in the early-1990s to move a block south .
Following the move to the new University Library in the late-1960s, the interior of the Estill Building was remodeled to allow for various classrooms and offices for, among other departments, Art and History.
During the late-1990s the interior again went through extensive remodeling, during which time clerestory windows that had originally lighted the stacks but had been sealed off were discovered. Now uncovered, the natural light shines down through a three-story atrium. During renovations administrative offices moved to White Hall and Department of History faculty were temporarily relocated to the Wilson Building. Following the renovations the building became home of the Admission, Cashier, and Financial Aid offices as well as the History Department. Additional renovations were undertaken when the History Department departed for AB4 in 2003; that area was claimed by the payroll and registrar offices.
The Division of Student Services initiated the Student Money Management Center (SMMC) at the beginning of the Fall 2008 semester. The Veterans Resource Center, a division of the Office of the Registrar, opened on the first floor of the building in September 2009 to provide assistance to the men and women who have dedicated themselves to serving and protecting our county; the unit was renamed Veterans Success at Sam in September 2011.
comments powered by Disqus