Farewell, Farish Hall: College of Education’s home to be demolished in 2025 — but not replaced
For years it’s been known the University will demolish Farish Hall to make way for its ambitious Centennial Plaza, but UH has backtracked on plans to replace the College of Education’s home with another building, a school spokesperson said.
With Farish Hall set to be razed beginning in 2025, the College of Education will not be housed in a new facility, as President Renu Khator had proposed in her 2020 fall address, and instead will be relocated to McElhinney Hall and the Science Building, UH spokesperson Chris Stipes said.
The demolition and relocation are all part of the University’s grandiose centennial master plan, a proposal to build a memorable first impression of UH for visitors, improve campus walkability and increase the amount of green space by overhauling the area between the Ezekiel W. Cullen Building and McElhinney Hall to create the Centennial Plaza.
“Yes, it would mean building a new building for the College of Education on a new site,” Khator said in 2020 of the plans to revamp the UH campus.
But, after “weighing many factors, including funding and space availability on campus,” Stipes said, the University found the plan to be impractical and scrapped it.
It had long been speculated that a potential new College of Education building would anchor a portion of campus near the intersection of Cullen Boulevard and Wheeler Avenue.
The education college’s move also comes after the University received $40 million in funding from the Texas Legislature to build a new facility for the Hobby School of Public Affairs, which is currently housed in soon-to-be-renovated McElhinney Hall.
Farish Hall, which came at a time of steadily increasing enrollment and major campus expansion, was first occupied in 1970 and has been the College of Education’s headquarters for over half a century.
But the asterisk-shaped structure has long been considered an eyesore in an area of campus dotted with older art deco-style buildings and the Cullen Family Plaza’s fountains.
The historic E. Cullen and Roy G. Cullen Buildings, some of the most iconic on campus, will soon anchor the area unimpeded as UH prepares to drastically change campus in the years leading up to the centennial.
After UH released renderings of the Centennial Plaza on social media Wednesday, some in the UH community were glad to see Farish Hall go.
INTRODUCING CENTENNIAL PLAZA: As we approach 100 years of the University of Houston, we’re excited to share a sneak peek at the vibrant future that lies in the heart of our campus.
2027 can’t come soon enough! pic.twitter.com/eJDNkgUdzU
— University of Houston (@UHouston) October 13, 2022
“It’s amazing how much more beautiful that space could be just by getting rid of Farish!” said one user, a graduate of the Class of 1996.
Cutter Gonzalez, a conductor at the Moores School of Music, shared the sentiment, saying, “The demise of Farish Hall and a new campus open space is exactly what I needed to brighten my day.”
For another Twitter user, the realization of the impending demolition was emotional.
“Farish Hall will be gone,” said Laura González, a bilingual education senior. “Thank you for the beautiful memories and bonds from my classmates, my besties and wonderful professors.”