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Feldman, Jim (Writer) / The buildings of the University of Wisconsin
(1997)

Home economics,   pp. 156-158


Page 158

money and leaving a trail of unpaid subcontractors. The university finished the building itself and
settled up the outstanding liens and debts.
The building was completed in March 1914. It consisted of a five-story central portion, 100 ft.
X 58 ft., with a four story east wing, 49 ft. X 92 ft. with a total of 50,000 square feet of floor area. It
was a steel and concrete structure faced with buff vitreous brick with Bedford limestone trimming,
and a red tile roof. The Extension was housed in the lower floors of the center section. The Home
Economics department occupied the east wing and the upper floors of the center section. The spaces
vacated by Home Economics in South Hall and Lathrop were immediately filled by bacteriology and
women's physical education, respectively. Future expansion was provided for by the addition of the
missing wing on the west side of the central section which had a rather blank look (fig. 1) due to its
relative lack of ornamentation.5
This building was successful and filled its dual purpose well for many years. But starting in the
1920s the enrollment in home economics began to squeeze the departmental space. The department
was gradually spread around the campus in Babcock Hall, and several temporary buildings, besides
the Home Economics building and practice cottage. It was not until 1951 that the regents decided to
complete the building by adding the west wing (18 feet longer than the original east wing). The
construction contract was let to the lowest bidder, George Nelson and Son, for $393,793. In the
spring of 1953 the west wing was finally completed. The laboratories were now up-to-date, confer-
ence rooms, lecture rooms and office space were now available.6
In 1962 the new university extension building at 632 Lake Street opened and left Home
Economics (which had become a school in 1951) in sole possession of the building (fulfilling the last
detail of the vision of the builders in 1913). In 1968 the school was renamed "Family Resources and
Consumer Sciences". It now is involved with child psychology, and consumer goods study. The
building remains a handsome and imposing presence on the Linden Drive hill.
1) Regent's Report, 1909-1910 p. 173.
2) Regent's Minutes, April 6, 1911.
3) Regent's Minutes, July 11, 1911.
4) Regent's Minutes, March 13, 1912.
5) Regent's Report, 1913-1914, p. 341; Regent's Report, 1908 p. 102, this entry details the movement of the depart-
ments at the time of their reassignment to the college of agriculture.
6) Wisconsin State Journal, June 7, 1953; Regent's Minutes, January 13, 1951, p. 12.
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