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Campus Planning and Construction: Timelines

Resources in the University Archives related to the planning and development of UB's North and South Campuses.
Last Updated: Jun 25, 2020 4:48 PM

Pre-Campus Buildings

Before the purchase of what is now the South Campus, UB did not have a unified campus.  Instead, it leased or purchased a number of properties in the City of Buffalo.

  • 1847 -- UB began to lease the First Baptist Church on the corner of Seneca and Washington Streets.  This was the home of the School of Medicine until 1850.
  • 1849 -- Construction was completed on the School of Medicine's new building on Main and Virginia Streets.  This was the first building in Buffalo built solely for collegiate education and would house the School of Medicine from 1850-1893.  The School of Pharmacy would share this building from its inception in 1886 until 1893.
  • 1893 -- Construction of the building at 24 High Street was completed.  It was the home of  the Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy until the 1950s, when both schools would move to what is now UB's South Campus.
  • 1896 -- Construction of the School of Dentistry's building at 25 Goodrich Street was completed.  The School of Dentistry would not relocate to UB's campus until 1953.
  • 1916 -- With a generous donation from Grace Knox, UB was able to meet the conditions of the Women's Educational and Industrial Union's donation of the building at 25 Niagara Square.  The building was named Townsend Hall and became the home of the newly established College of Arts and Sciences.  The Townsend Hall name would later be transferred to a building on the South Campus.
  • 1917 -- The Law School began leasing the building at 77 West Eagle Street.  UB purchased the property in 1920.  In the late 1940s, the original building was torn down and a new building was constructed on the site. This would remain the home of the Law School until 1973, when it moved to the newly constructed O'Brian Hall on the North Campus.

South Campus

  • 1909 -- (June 16) UB purchased the 106-acre Erie County Almshouse and Hospital property from Erie County for $54,300 or approximately $500.00 per acre.  One of the stipulations of the agreement called for UB to begin developing the site within ten years.  If UB failed to do so, the county could buy back the property.  Smaller tracts of land would later be purchased to complete what is now the South Campus of UB.
    • The official indenture, or deed, for the purchase of the Erie County Almshouse site can be found in collection 6/4/43: University Properties, 1909-1966.
  • 1919 -- A landscape design competition for UB's new campus was announced.  Hallam L. Movius of Boston won first prize.
  • 1920 -- (June) After having received a one-year extension on the terms of the 1909 indenture, UB Chancellor Charles P. Norton presided over a mock groundbreaking on the campus to show that UB had begun developing the property.  Later that year, a generous donation from the Orin Foster family provided the funds for the construction of Foster Hall, the first building on the South Campus built by UB.
  • 1922 -- (October 27-28) Foster Hall was dedicated as part of a weekend-long celebration that also saw the dedication of Rotary Field and the inauguration of Samuel P. Capen, UB's first full-time Chancellor.  Foster Hall became the new home of the College of Arts and Sciences.  This began the slow migration of UB's schools from buildings in downtown Buffalo to the new campus.
  • 1926 -- The Maternity Hospital building of the Erie County Almshouse (now Wende Hall) underwent significant renovations, adding a third floor and reconfiguring the interior for classrooms and laboratories.
  • 1927-1928 -- The county hospital building of the Erie County Almshouse (now Hayes Hall) was renovated, adding the now iconic clock tower and chimes.
  • 1931 -- Construction of the University Facilities building at 220 Winspear Avenue, MacKay Heating Plant, Beck Hall and Crosby Hall was completed.  Also, the Erie County Almshouse's Nurses Dormitory (today known as Townsend Hall) was remodeled for use by the Department of Biology.
  • 1934 -- Construction of Harriman Hall was completed.  This building was originally known as Norton Union and served as UB's student union.  The Norton name would later be transferred to the new student union (now Squire Hall) and again to a building on the North Campus.
  • 1935 -- Construction of the original Lockwood Library (now Abbott Hall) was completed.  Like Norton, the Lockwood name would later be transferred to a building on the North Campus.
  • 1938 -- Clark Gymnasium was dedicated.
  • 1946 -- Parker Hall was dedicated as part of UB's centennial celebration.  Construction of the building would be completed the following year.
  • 1953 -- Construction of MacDonald, Pritchard and Schoellkopf Halls was completed.  These buildings served as the first on-campus housing for UB students.  All three buildings have been demolished.
  • 1955 -- Construction of Michael Hall was completed.
  • 1956 -- Construction of Allen Hall and a 36,000 square foot addition to Wende Hall was completed
  • 1957 -- Construction of Kimball Tower and the Howe Research Buildling was completed.
  • 1958 -- Construction of the Pharmacy Building was completed and Sherman Hall was dedicated.
  • 1960 -- Construction of Goodyear Hall was completed.
  • 1961 -- Cary Hall was dedicated and construction of the Buffalo Materials Research Center, UB's nuclear research facility, was completed.  The Buffalo Material Research Center has since been demolished.
  • 1962 -- (September) UB merged with the State University of New York.  An increase in the number of students, faculty and staff soon followed and would cause UB to outgrow its 178-acre campus by the mid-1960s.  This same year, construction of Squire and Diefendorf Halls was completed.
  • 1963 -- Construction of the University Facilities building at 250 Winspear Avenue was completed.
  • 1964 -- Construction of Clement Hall  was completed.
  • 1965 -- Construction of the Childcare Complex was completed.
  • 1966 -- Construction of the "temporary" buildings Acheson Hall Annex, Hayes Hall Annex A, B and C and Farber Hall Annex was completed.
  • 1970 -- Construction of Sherman Annex was completed.
  • 1986 -- Construction of the Biomedical Education Building was completed.
  • 1995 -- Construction of the Biomedical Research Building was completed.

The Planning and Site Selection for the Second Campus

  • 1960 -- (November) The report "Meeting the Increasing Demand for Higher Education in New York State: A Report to the Governor and Board of Regents" (the Heald Report) was submitted by the SUNY Committee on Higher Education. Chaired by Henry T. Heald, the report was a review of and recommendations regarding the higher education needs and facilities in New York State for the next 20-25 years.
    • This report can be found in collection 4/11/581: Presidential Speeches of Robert L. Ketter, 1970-1982, box/folder 17.12.
  • 1962 -- (September) UB merged with the State University of New York.  An increase in the number of students, faculty and staff soon followed and would cause UB to outgrow its 178-acre campus by the mid-1960s.
  • 1963 -- (December) UB President Clifford C. Furnas began a process to determine how UB would expand and develop its facilities in order to accommodate up to 20,000 additional students.  The Campus Site-Study Task Force was formed and considered four possibilities:
  1. Keeping the current campus and purchasing the neighboring Grover Cleveland Golf Course from the City of Buffalo
  2. Keeping the current campus and purchasing property of up to 750 acres for a second separate campus
  3. A combination of options 1 and 2
  4. Selling the current campus and purchasing a new larger campus of 1000-plus acres

Though most of the Campus Site-Study Task Force preferred options 1, 3 and 4, the size of available properties, SUNY's unwillingness to use eminent domain to obtain properties and Buffalo's refusal to sell the Grover Cleveland Golf Course would make option 2 the most feasible.

  • Records related to the Campus Site-Study Task Force can be found in collection 8/9/1007: North Campus Construction Records, 1957-1991 Box/Folder 1.1 and 1.2, and collection 6/4/43: University Properties, 1909-1966, box 6
  • 1964 -- (February) The report "Alternate Site Study, State University of New York at Buffalo" (the Moore Report) was submitted to the State University Construction Fund.  In it, Vincent Moore studied the suitability of various sites for UB's second campus including Grand Island, Amherst, Cheektowaga, Elma and the Buffalo waterfront.
    • A copy of the Moore Report can be found in University Archives Vertical History File IV 1E
  • 1964 -- (June) The SUNY Board of Trustees announced Amherst as the site of UB's second campus.  Soon after, SUNY began purchasing property along Millersport Highway, Maple Road, Sweethome Road and Skinnersville Road. (Greiner and Headrick 2007, 63)
  • 1964 -- (August) Taylor, Lieberfeld and Heldman, Inc. delivered "Report to the State University of New York: Physical Plant and Campus Development Program for the State University of New York at Buffalo" (the Heldman Report).  This was a study of UB's future facilities needs.
  • 1964 -- After the release of the Heldman Report, UB created the Campus Planning Committee.  Led by Bradley Chapin, the committee was tasked with surveying UB's departments and offices to determine their future space needs.  Their responses were reported to SUNY and used to amend the Heldman Report.
  • 1966 -- Buffalo architect Robert Coles and the Committee for an Urban University used the Moore Report to urge SUNY to reconsider the Buffalo waterfront as the site for UB's second campus (Greiner and Headrick 2007, 66-74)
  • 1966 -- (October 13) At the urging of New York State governor Nelson Rockefeller, the SUNY Board of Trustees commissioned a study to reevaluate certain sites for UB's second campus. Mason Gross, president of Rutgers University was appointed to lead the effort.  Robert Heller and Associates, an engineering firm, was hired to assist Gross and submit its own study. (Greiner and Headrick 2007. 66-74)
  • 1967 -- (February 1) Gross and Heller and Associates submitted their reports to the SUNY Board of Trustees.  Both studies supported the Amherst site for UB's second campus over the Buffalo waterfront.
    • "Report and Recommendations Concerning Expansion Plans at the State University of New York at Buffalo" (the Gross Report) can be found in University Archives Vertical History File IV 1F. 
    • "Evaluation of Proposed Sites for the State University of New York at Buffalo" (the Heller Report) can be found in North Campus Vertical History File IV 1G.
  • 1967 -- (September) -- The Ridge Lea Campus opened.  To help alleviate the space shortage on the South Campus, UB leased a parcel  of land on Ridge Lea Road in Amherst.  Over the next 20 years, a number of UB departments would have temporary quarters on the Ridge Lea Campus as new buildings were constructed on the North Campus.  UB would not completely vacate the Ridge Lea Campus until the mid-1990s.

*Greiner, William R. and Thomas E. Headrick. 2007. Location Location Location: a Special History of the University of/at Buffalo. Buffalo: Center Working Papers.

North Campus

  • 1964 -- (June) The SUNY Board of Trustees announced Amherst as the site of UB's second campus.  Soon after, SUNY began purchasing property along Millersport Highway, Maple Road, Sweethome Road and Skinnersville Road. (Greiner and Headrick 2007, 62)  Of the buildings located on these various properties, only the current Bissell Hall, originally a church, and the Campus Mail Center would be maintained for use by UB.
  • 1968 -- (October 31) The groundbreaking ceremony for the North Campus was held.
  • 1972 -- (June) Construction of the Governors Complex was completed.
  • 1973 -- (March) Construction of O'Brian Hall, the first academic building on the North Campus, was completed. 
  • 1974 -- Construction of the Human Resources Development (HRD) building, the Ellicott Complex, Baldy Hall and Bell Hall was completed.
  • 1975 -- Construction of the Amherst Bubble, a temproary recreational sports facility, was completed.
  • 1976 -- Construction of the Baker Chilled Water Plant, the Statler Commissary, and Fronczak, Clemens and Crofts Halls was completed.
  • 1977 -- Construction of Capen, Norton, Talbert, Furnas, Cooke, and Hochstetter Halls, and Lockwood Library was completed.
  • 1978 -- Baird Point was dedicated.
  • 1979 -- Construction of the Beane Center, Helm Warehouse, and the Dorsheimer Laboratory and Greenhouse was completed,
  • 1981 -- Construction of the Center for Tomorrow, and Knox, Jarvis, Ketter, Baird and Slee Halls was completed.
  • 1982 -- Construction of Bonner Hall and phase one of Alumni Arena was completed.  The grand opening of the University Bookstore was held.
  • 1984 -- Construction of the Student Activity Center was completed.  Along with later additions, this will become the Student Union.
  • 1985 -- Construction of Jacobs Management Center, Kunz Stadium, the Computing Center and phase two of Alumni Arena was completed.
  • 1986 -- Construction of Park Hall was completed.
  • 1990 -- Construction of the UB Commons was completed.
  • 1992 -- The Student Union was dedicated.
  • 1993 -- Construction of the UB Stadium and the Center for the Arts was completed.
  • 1994 -- Construction of the Natural Sciences Complex was completed.
  • 1998 -- Construction of the Childcare Center was completed.
  • 1999 -- Construction of Hadley Village was completed
  • 2000 -- Construction of the Mathematics Building and South Lake Village was completed.
  • 2001 -- Construction of Flint Village was completed.
  • 2002 -- Construction of Creekside Village was completed.
  • 2005 -- Construction of the Alfiero Center was completed.
  • 2011 -- Construction of Greiner Hall and Davis Hall was completed.
  • 2012 -- The Solar Strand was dedicated
  • 2019 -- Construction of the Murchie Family Fieldhouse was completed.

*Greiner, William R. and Thomas E. Headrick. 2007. Location Location Location: a Special History of the University of/at Buffalo. Buffalo: Center Working Papers.