Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Gates Hall

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Institution Name: Wayland Baptist University
Original/Historic Place Name: Administration Building
Location on Campus: 1900 W. 7th St.
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
1909-1910original construction Unknown
1968renovation Unknown
1990renovation Unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style(s): (Glossary)
Foundation: concrete; steel
Walls: brick (exterior, facing); plaster (interior);
Roof: concrete; tar; gravel
ca. 1910other (heating plant)
ca. 1910dining hall
ca. 1910residence hall
ca. 1910-present (2007)administration
ca. 1910-present (2007)auditorium
ca. 1910-present (2007)classrooms
ca. 1910-present (2007)faculty offices (for Social Sciences and English/Foreign Languages)
ca. 2004-present (2007)other (meeting rooms)

Significance: architecture, history, religion
Landmark designation:
Narrative: see below
References: see below

Constructed in 1910, Gates Hall was named in honor of Wayland's first president, Dr. Isaac Edgar Gates, a pioneer missionary and pastor of the First Baptist Church in Plainview, Amarillo, and San Antonio. For almost twenty years after Wayland's founding, it was one of only two buildings on campus at what is the oldest institution of higher learning still in existence on the High Plains of Texas. The building sits on a rise in the western part of the city and dominates the view in that direction. To take advantage of West Texas' breezes, frequent garden parties were held on the roof in the college's early days. The Greek revival columns and red brick exterior symbolized education in the minds of early West Texas pioneers.

The building is associated with a major historical event in 1951 when Wayland became the first four-year liberal arts college in the states of the old Confederacy to admit black students voluntarily and on the same basis as all others. When the first black students arrived to register for classes in June 1951, they came to the registrar's office in Gates Hall to do so.
Gates Hall remains the most recognizable building associated with Wayland.

At the time of its building, it was believed that the concrete shell would be completely fireproof. The building has both a basement and a sub-basement to provide shelters from the frequent tornados that once plagued West Texas. Renovations occurred whenever a new facility assumed some of the functions formerly located in Gates Hall. The dormitory on the third floor was remodeled for use of the music department until Harral Auditorium and music and art wings took on those functions. Major renovations in the building occurred in 1968 and 1990.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Cox, Mary L., History of Hale County, Texas. Plainview, TX: [s.n.], 1937.

Dallas Baptist Standard, July 15, 1909.

Wofford, Vera D., ed.. Hale County Facts and Folklore. Lubbock, TX: Pica Publishing, 1978.

Hale County History: Quarterly of the Hale County Historical Society. Plainview, TX: Wayland Baptist College, [n.d.].

II. Location of other data:
University: Library, Special Collections, Facilities Management Office

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Last update: November 2006