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The Damage of Snowmageddon: Abilene Hall By: Jonathan Lumpkin

The effects of “Snowmageddon,” the informal nickname given to the week following St. Valentine’s Day has been unprecedented in recent Texas history.

After the Texas power grid shut down, many water pipes froze across the state, resulting in a necessity for many Texans to temporarily move to “warming centers” or tough it out in their unheated homes. Here at Hardin-Simmons University, our very own Abilene Hall was heavily damaged. The basement flooded due to broken pipes caused by subfreezing temperatures for several days. Also damaged was the electrical systems in the building resulting in a closure of the building for an unspecified length of time.

The current Abilene Hall is actually the second building of that name to serve the needs of the campus. In 1913, the first Abilene Hall was built to serve as an administrative building with a chapel to seat 600, classroom space and a bookstore. The new structure was erected at a cost of $40,000. On Feb.10, 1947, the predecessor of the current building, was destroyed by fire.

The second and present Abilene Hallwas built in almost the same footprint as the first. The new structure was built in 1947 at a cost of $262,132.59 and opened in the fall of that same year.

The venerable classroom and office building is now closed for the rest of the spring semester. Faculty and staff who were previously housed in the building have all moved into other facilities on the campus,” said Dr. Christopher McNair, HSU provost and chief academic officer.

“For the foreseeable future, many of the newly filled faculty offices will become permanent as they are a better fit for our affected personnel and allow them to be closer to other faculty members in their respective colleges/schools,” Dr. McNair said. Classes formally held in Abilene Hall have also been relocated around the HSU

campus to other academic buildings.

As for the future of Abilene Hall, Dr. McNair stated, “We are studying what our next steps should be for Abilene Hall after we get the repairs made in that building. It may become the future site of new and growing academic programs we are exploring, such as engineering, or we may decide to repurpose the building for other needs.”

We did not want any of our students, staff or faculty to without adequate resources,” Dr. McNair said. HSU is very fortunate to have a number of vacant offices located in various buildings on the main campus to meet the needs of those who formerly used Abilene Hall on a daily basis.


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