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

Short course dorms,   pp. 268-269

Page 268

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Fig. 1. Short course dorms from south west. c. 1950. Fig. 2. Construction of short course dorms,
[Series 9/3, Short Course Dorms, ns-1723]      April, 1949. [Series 9/3, Short Course Dorms,
The short course dorms rectified a serious lack of housing for the agricultural short
course students. Built in 1949, they were the first permanent building erected with
state funds since 1931. In 1960 the two dorms were named for two agricultural
professor, Byron Jorns and George Humphrey.
S1940 the agricultural short course facilities had become quite an embarrassment to the
university. Since 1932 the students in the oldest university short course in the nation, were
housed in a remodelled sheep barn, fed and instructed in WW I barracks salvaged from camp
Randall. In the winter of 1940 and the spring of 1941, agriculture dean Christensen began planning
for the construction of short course buildings. Christensen and state architect Roger Kirchhoff devel-
oped several plans, some of which were quite elaborate. They included two dormitories, and a central
building containing a commons, a lecture hall for 950 seats, lobbies and lounges. This complex of
three buildings was intended to occupy the site at Babcock Drive and Linden Drive (the current site
of Russell labs).
To support these plans the regents included the short course buildings in their high priority list
to the legislature of 1941. In notes prepared for the legislature, regent Cleary refers to the short
course buildings: "...too small and wholly unfit for their purpose ... located less than twenty feet from
a slaughter house ... These buildings were cheaply constructed when built and any expenditure on
them at present would be a waste of money. They are dangerous fire traps and the boys are packed in
double bunks with no modem facilities ... The place is too small to hold all the boys and a sad picture
to present to visiting business men. The enrollment has increased in these short courses from 148 in
1931-32 to 440 in 1940-41." On July 1, 1941 the legislature appropriated $200,000 for the construc-
tion and equipment of a short course agricultural student's dormitory. This amount was that estimated
by Mr. Kirchhoff in January 1941, using the 1938 Kronshage dormitory costs. This estimate would
cause trouble later. Plans were completed in 1941, but war time restrictions on building made the
construction impossible at that time. During the following four years the regents continued to con-

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