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Anna M. Barnard Residence Hall


Opened: September 23, 1948
Demolished: 1997
Cost: $1.4 million
Capacity: 400

The Anna M. Barnard Residence Hall was the fourth residence hall built on the campus of CMU. It was the first designed by architect Roger Allen of Grand Rapids, who later designed many residence and academic halls across campus. The $1.4 million building, designed to house 400 students when it opened, was built by the Weber Construction Company of Bay City over the course of 1947 and 1948. It was constructed with the latest fireproofing techniques: gypsum block partitions, steel casements, and steel stairways. At the time it was built, Barnard was the largest residence hall on campus. It officially opened on September 23, 1948.

Like many halls, Barnard opened before it was actually completed. When the first residents moved in, there were no beds and the lobby was not yet finished. Nevertheless, the demand for housing after World War II led to the building's early opening and for it to be filled beyond capacity for several years thereafter. The building was built as a women's residence hall and housed women from its opening until 1964, when it was converted to a men's hall. With the completion of the southeast quad in 1966, women again moved into Barnard. The building continued to be a women-only hall until 1973-74, when it became coed until it closed.

Designs also called for an adjoining food commons that seated 600 and served Barnard, Sloan, and Ronan residence halls. This type of quadrangle arrangement was among the first of its kind and became a model for other residence hall complexes on campus. Room and board was set at $207.25 per semester for all three halls. The students of Barnard published a hall newspaper for several years starting in 1953. A high point in the history of Barnard Hall occurred in 1955, when former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt visited Central and stayed in the hall's guest room.

Barnard Hall continued to serve the needs of on-campus students for decades. However, in 1993 Barnard and Tate residence halls were closed due to low enrollment, structural problems, and general inefficiency. The Board of Trustees announced future plans to demolish Barnard and Tate Halls in December 1995. The decision to raze them was based on the high cost of remodeling and continued low student enrollment. The University awarded the demolition contract to Diamond Dismantling, a Detroit company, who agreed to complete the demolition for $357,221. Demolition began in May 1996, after furniture was auctioned and utility equipment was salvaged. Certified Abatement of Detroit and Termico Incorporated of Midland were hired to assist with the removal of asbestos from the site. Demolition was complete within a few months and a parking lot was laid on the spot of Barnard and Tate Halls in 1997.

GradHousing.JPGIn December 2011, the CMU Board of Trustees announced plans for a new Graduate Student Housing Project on the site of the former Barnard and Tate Halls. The Christman Company of Lansing was hired to contract out the work. The total budget for the project was $28.5 million, which included funds for the expansion of an adjacent parking lot. The new buildings were closely modeled on the architecture of Barnard Hall, both to recall the dormitory that once stood on the location and also to better incorporate the new buildings into the existing architectural style on north campus. The new graduate housing, which opened in 2013, was built to serve the recently completed College of Medicine.

Barnard Hall was named for the head of the Department of Foreign Languages from 1899-1944. She resigned October 1, 1944. An article in the July 30, 1947 edition of CM Life reported some of her accomplishments:

In the many years Miss Barnard taught here she has made countless friends among the alumni of the school and has been a considerable influence upon the lives of students as well as upon the institution itself. She has been a keen student of languages throughout her teaching career, spending every opportunity in travel abroad to get firsthand information. Among the countries in which she has lived and studied are England, France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Greece, the Near East, Denmark and Scandinavian Countries.