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Campus Buildings
  Normal School    1889-1927
Normal School
Normal School

In September 1887, work was begun on the construction of the normal school building. It was a large brick building, consisting of three stories and full basement. It was of Romanesque design with Elizabethan gables and artificial stone trimmings. A. J. Bryan was the supervising contractor.

All of the activities of the school took place in this building. Administrative and faculty offices, an assembly hall, classrooms and laboratories, a library and a museum occupied most of the space. Wide stairways connected the floors. A training school was held in the basement.

In 1903 an addition was erected to provide for two laboratories, a lecture room for 70 students, and a gymnasium. The assembly hall was converted into an auditorium to seat over 600 people, with a platform to accommodate a chorus of 100.

On August 12, 1927 fire destroyed the building leaving only a skeleton of brick walls.

  Training School    1910-1950
Training School
Training School

Covered Walkway
Covered Walkway

This two-story wood and stucco building was constructed on the east side of the Normal School building and was connected to it by a covered walkway. The structure was 50 x 118 feet and contained 22 classrooms, a domestic science room, a metal shop, and a library. Chico children enrolled in the Training School received, beside a Bausch education, classes in industrial arts, home economics, physical education, and gardening. Student teachers, besides teaching classes, planned and took charge of school activities and functions, spent an hour a day supervising playground games, gave illustrative lectures and conducted the school library.

The training school building was demolished in 1950 after the opening of the Amyer J. Hamilton building.


  Colusa Hall   1921
Industrial Arts Building
Colusa Hall
This one story brick building was completed in the summer of 1921 under the direction of Walter Hann, Chief of Maintenance. Thirty Two Thousand Dollars had been appropriated by the state for this purpose and was designed by a state engineering architect, H.L. Saterlee for use by industrial arts students. It was designed as a single story structure with many windows allowing for light and a roof with skylights and a good ventilation system.

The building was used over the years for a variety of purposes, most of them related to industrial arts. Repairs and improvements were made as needed. However in 1997 it was decided to save and renovate the building. The interior was demolished and redesigned and the roof replaced. The building is now used as an art gallery and public events facility.

Since the brick exterior and windows of the original building remain, it is recognized as the oldest building on campus.

  Administration Building (Kendall Hall)   1929
Kendall Hall
Administration Building, Kendall Hall --ca 1980. Source: Meriam Library Special Collections sc15706.

The administration building was built on the site of the Normal Building, which burned in 1927. The original cornerstone was incorporated into the building along with a new one. Chester E. Cole designed it in the Romanesque style, to match Laxson Auditorium and Trinity Hall which were built at that period.

It is a two-story building with a rotunda in the middle. It is constructed of brick with a Spanish tile roof and decorative columns and arches. Although the exterior has had only minor changes, the interior has been remodeled to contain more offices and the utilities have been upgraded. In 1964 a spiral staircase was added under the dome of the rotunda. There is a central hanging globe in the dome representing the earth. The underside of the dome was created to represent heaven so as you climb the spiral staircase you ascend past the earth towards heaven.

The motto "Today Decides Tomorrow" is above the central arch leading into the entrance

The building originally contained offices and classrooms. Over the years the classrooms have moved to other buildings and it is used only for administrative purposes. It was renamed Kendall Hall in 1979 in honor of former President Glenn Kendall.

Ayres Hall
Ayres Hall
Ayres Hall
Built in the brick style similar to the original structures of the campus, Ayres Hall included forty-six rooms that spanned two stories. Main construction of the building took place in two phases. In 1932, offices had been adjoined to the back of Laxon Auditorium. Contractor A. Fredrick Anderson was in charge of the first phase, which cost $30,000 to complete.

The second phase of building took place in 1950. A two-story structure was designed to accommodate the multiple departments that would be housed there. Some of the departments included biology, chemistry, music, drama and photography. The name of the building became the Music, Speech and Science Building, reflecting the many uses the structure would provide. Included the second phase of construction were the addition of classrooms, laboratories, rehearsal rooms, a radio studio, a 250-seat theatre, and a 140-seat lecture hall, which was to be the largest on campus. At a cost of $750, 000, the contractor, B and R Construction Company out of San Francisco, completed the building in January of 1951.

By the 1960s, the college planned to expand the campus as enrollment dramatically increased with the baby boom generation. In 1960, remodeling had begun on the building as new science buildings were completed. Science laboratories were converted into art studios and classrooms and the addition of the foundry-sculpture lab was built. The building received the new name of Tehama Hall in 1971 because of the removal of the science departments. In the late 1980s, additional building renovation took place. The building's name was changed to John C. Ayres Hall, in honor of the influential Chico State art teacher on April 29, 1979.

John Ayres taught for thirty-two years at Chico State, retiring in 1976. He specialized in medieval art and studio painting. From 1946 to 1967, Ayres served as chair of the Art Department. There was some controversy over naming the building after a person still living, but in the end people believed Ayres deserved the honor.

Laxson Auditorium
Laxson Auditorium
Laxson Auditorium
Laxson Auditorium was the second structure built to replace the Normal School which burned in 1927. It is built of brick in Romanesque style to match Kendall hall. Called the Auditorium for many years, it was named in 1979 to honor C. Robert Laxson, a music professor at Chico State from 1946 to 1968. The auditorium can accommodate over 1400 people and is used for concerts, plays, and other special events. The Janet Turner Print Gallery was housed on the second floor until its relocation to Meriam Library in 2009.

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Written and compiled by Mary Ellen Bailey
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