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

Slichter Hall,   pp. 252-253

Page 252

Fig. 1. Slichter Hall c. 1950. [Series
26/1 Slichter Hall, ns- 1732]
Built in 1946 Slichter Hall provided permanent dormitory space for a greatly in-
creased post WWII student body. It is named for Professor Charles Sumner Slichter,
a long time and much belovedprofessor of mathematics, and initiator of the dormi-
tory house-fellow system.
ell before the end of WW II, the university's department of housing knew that they might
be in for a rough time. The enrollment at the university 6,615 in 1944-45, tripled in two
Wyears to 18,598 in 1947-48. At the same time, the Division of Residence Halls, was pro-
viding living and dining quarters for thousands of military personnel, attending the training classes
held at the university. In addition to these duties, the Division of Residence Halls was actively plan-
ning permanent student housing for the post war period.
Director of Residence Halls Donald Halverson proposed to president E. B. Fred in 1944 that
the university build three new dormitories, as soon as materials became available. Of the three
projects only one was completed, the west addition to the Van Hise units. Halverson argued that even
if the dormitory had to be financed with the entire assets of the division, it would still be a sound
investment. Some of this confidence came from the fact that never had any amortization payment
been missed by the division since its inception in 1926, even in the lean depression years. The earliest
halls, Adams and Tripp, were nearly paid off. These evidences that their business practice was sound
made the argument to build more halls more compelling. '
During early 1946, the division of residence halls consulted with the state architect Roger
Kirchhoff, to plan the new dormitory. They collected suggestions from the house-fellows and resi-
dents of the Van Hise and newer Kronshage dormitories. By late summer of 1946, the plans were
ready. The regents approved the plans and authorized the contracts. The contractor was the George
A. Fuller Company of Chicago. Fuller took the job on a cost plus fee basis, the first time the univer-
sity had employed this contracting scheme. The estimated cost was $554,843, and Fuller's fee was
$27,742. This is a fee of less than 5 per cent, reflecting the low return on investment current at that

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