Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project



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Institution Name: Bryan College
Original/Historic Place Name: Campus
Location on Campus: top of Bryan Hill
Date(s) of Construction and Designer(s):
post- 2000implementation of master plan Unknown
Type of Place: Building group
Style(s) of majority of buildings: Modern/post-WWII, Modern/pre-WWII
Style(s) of minority of buildings: Modern/pre-WWII
Building group type: Irregular; Quadrangle
Relationship to landscape:
Bryan College is in Dayton and thus in the valley below Walden’s Ridge (1900 ft. above sea level and 1200 ft. above Dayton). The Bryan campus is on a 110-acre tract of a main hill that is 895 ft. above sea level and over 200 ft. higher than Dayton and the lake at the bottom of the hill. Approximately 50% of the campus is heavily wooded, and the rest is lawns, grassy areas, athletic fields, roads, parking lots, and buildings. The campus includes 2 sides of another hill of about equal height. For views and vista, see the Grassy Bowl section. On the adjoining hill there is a water tower that services the college and Dayton. Between the two hills are three soccer fields and a baseball diamond, which have L-shaped natural amphitheaters for spectators. The central section of the campus is profusely landscaped with varied and colorful trees, shrubs, and flower gardens. Adjoining the library is an enclosed Shakespearean garden, containing many plants mentioned in the Bard’s works.
Ideas associated with building group:
n.d.other (campus)

Significance: education, engineering, history, landscape, religion
Landmark designation:
Narrative: see below
References: see below

For most of the time from 1930 to 2000, the Bryan College campus was serviced by a road that came up on top of the hill, went in front of the Administration Building and then forked with one part going straight ahead in between men's and women's dorms on either side. The other fork angled back and joined the road coming up the hill. This formed a large irregular triangle in the center of the main campus. There was a side road leading to the athletic fields and another on the backside of the hill, which led to the married students' apartments.

On February 6, 2000, the Administration Building caught fire on the third floor, destroying it and resulting in heavy water damage on the two floors below. The multi-purpose building had to be evacuated. It had most of the offices and classrooms, science labs, the library, computer center, mailroom, and duplication services. Temporary classrooms, offices, library, and other services were set up. Only one day of classes was missed. The administration and trustees decided even before any insurance settlement was known that they would boldly implement a revised 20-year plan and try to do most of it in two years.

The result was speeding up the completion of a new Student Life Center, erecting a new library building, completely renovating and restoring the Administration Building, rerouting the campus roads so that none went through the heart of the campus but instead circled around the outside of the various buildings, laying new walkways, planting many decorative plots for shrubs and flowers, constructing a new maintenance building away from the main part of campus, and filling in large depressions to increase the number of athletic fields. In addition, the front entrances of the Student Life Center and Library, which form a kind of triangle, were designed to match or complement the entrance of the Administration Building. Work on most of these projects took place simultaneously.

I. Bibliographic sources:

Archives and Special Collections. Bryan College Library and Bryan College Facilities Management Office, Bryan College, Dayton, TN.

Bryan, William Jennings. The Commoner. New York: Abbey Press, 1902.

Cornelius, R. M., and Tom Davis, ed. Impact: the Scopes Trial, William Jennings Bryan, and Issues that Keep Revolving. Dayton, TN: Bryan College, 2000.

Olson, LaDonna. Legacy of Faith: the Story of Bryan College. Dayton, TN: Bryan College, 1995.

Triangle, [n.d.]. Bryan College, Dayton, TN.

Traylor, Jack W. "William Jennings Bryan College: A Brief History." In The World's Most Famous Court Trial: Tennessee Evolution Case. Dayton, TN: Bryan College, 1990.

II. Location of other data:
University: Library, Special Collections
Government Offices

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