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Thursday, November 30, 2023


WWII-era Y Building demolished

The demolition occured the week before class.   |  Joshua Mann/The Daily Cougar

The demolition occured the week before class. | Joshua Mann/The Daily Cougar

The long-anticipated demolition of the Y Building finally happened.

The mid-July party hosted by the Cullen College of Engineering ended the era of the Y Building. The Y was the old laboratory building for the College of Engineering, but the hazards associated with the building became too great for continued use. More recently, the old pre-WWII era hangar has been used as an informal place for students to relax.
“It was not safe and incredibly ugly, and I say that as someone with no aesthetic sense,” said David Shattuck, associate professor in the Cullen College of Engineering and director of the Honors Engineering Program.

“It was not appropriate for faculty and students to be in. It had used up its time as a useful building.”

The Y came before WWII and before the influx of temporary metal buildings necessary after the influx of students associated with post-WWII.

“The Y Building was in use already during the war, so it was not part of the group of temporary metal buildings bought by UH later, after WWII,” said Oscar Gutierrez, assistant to the Chancellor and President for Communications.

“The book, ‘In Time,’ mentions that at the conclusion of WWII, President Kemmerer, preparing for the anticipated influx of returning war veterans, obtained 12 temporary classroom buildings from the Federal Works Agency from Camp Wallace and Camp Bowie. These were sold to UH as surplus Army property.”

Only two temporary classrooms are still in existence, each one already repurposed.

“One is on Cullen across the street from Cullen Oaks. Channel 8 was based there — this was Channel 8’s second home, the first being in E. Cullen — prior to the construction of the Melcher Center for Public Broadcasting. It is now used by TLC2,” Gutierrez said.

“The second one is near the architecture building. It now houses the Burdette Keeland Center Design and Exploration Center.”

The plans for the Y are less certain than those for the other two temporary metal buildings.

“In the short term, the space will be turned into a temporary parking space. In the long term, we are obviously hoping it will become another building,” Shattuck said.

“We think we need more space, but everyone thinks they need more space. We’d love a new building so that we could improve upon undergraduate and graduate education.”

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