CSU Archives and Special Collections

CSU Buildings and Grounds History

A history of CSU's building and grounds from 1870 to the present.

Vocational Education Building/Soils Laboratory Building, 1914-

   Two-storied brick building with a flight of wooden steps to the entry on the top story.

Soils Building, 1917

From CSU's Sense of Place:  A Campus History of Colorado's Land-Grant University, by James E. Hansen, Gordon A. Hazard, and Linda M. Meyer.  Fort Collins, CO:  Colorado State University, 2018.

Architects - Henry H. Hildebrandt (1914), Eugene G. Groves (1924, 1936 and 1947 additions), CSU Facilities Management (1996)

Builder – Henry H. Hildebrandt (original building)

150 University Avenue

This building was designed and built by a local carpenter named Henry H. Hildebrandt.  He used the “Edwardian Vernacular” style for this building.  From its opening in late 1914 until 1963 this was the Soils Laboratory Building and accommodated a variety of activities related to the Agronomy Department.  Geology was also housed in part of the building during the mid-1940s.  The lower level featured a large laboratory and the upper level had classrooms.  Eugene G. Groves was hired to design the first addition to this building in 1924.

Using funds from the federally-sponsored Works Progress Administration (WPA), a 70’ x 40’ addition was made the rear of the building in late 1936.  This provided much needed additional space.  In late 1947 another addition featuring classroom space for 100, plus three laboratories was opened. Both of these additions were designed by Eugene G. Groves.  These are considered to be “20th Century Institutional” style.  In 1948, the Soils Testing Laboratory operations were moved to the new Industrial Research Building.

In 1961 half of the basement of the building had been turned into a fish hatchery.  Four large troughs utilizing city water that had been filtered through a unit to remove the chlorine were rearing young salmon and trout species.  In an article from page 2 of the November-December 1963 issue of The CSU Alumnus tells about the building that had just undergone another remodeling and also a name change.  It was now called the “Vocational Education Building”.  In June 1984 the State Board of Agriculture placed the building along with two others on a list to be razed.  This did not happen. 

The most recent renovation took place in 1996.  It is now the home to the Center for Environmental Management of Military Lands (CEMML). CEMML is a research and service unit within the Warner College of Natural Resources that provides professional services and technical support to the United States Department of Defense in conservation, environmental protection and cultural resource management projects world-wide.  Its Archaeological Lab, Computer Cartography and Spatial Analysis Lab, and Floristics Lab and Field Operations are housed in the building.

Sources by Gordon Hazard

Rocky Mountain Collegian, November 15, 1906, page 11, col. 2, vol. XVI, number 4, story about the work underway to establish a permanent soil laboratory at the Agricultural Hall.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, January 15, 1907, pages 4 and 5, vol. XVI, number 8.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, June 3, 1914, page 334, vol. 3.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, June 13, 1914, page 313, vol. Dec. 1905 - Dec. 1916.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, July 31, 1914, page 317.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, August 29, 1914, page 319, vol. Dec. 1905 - Dec. 1916

Rocky Mountain Collegian, September 9, 1914, page 1, col. 4, vol. XXIV, number 1.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, October 2, 1914, page 322.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, December 26, 1914, page 330.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, February 25, 1915, page 333.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, April 5, 1916, page 369.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, June 26, 1936, page 31.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, July 28, 1936, page 333.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, August 28, 1936, page 336.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, September 23, 1936, page 5, col. 3, vol. XLVI, number 3.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, October 30, 1936, page 357.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, August 28, 1937, page 434.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, September 13, 1937, page 1, col. 2, vol. XLVII, number 1.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, October 15, 1937, page 446.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, December 19, 1940, page 1, col. 6, vol. L, number 16.

The Colorado State College Alumnus, December – January 1940-1941, page 2, col. 1, vol. 21, numbers 6 and 7.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, March 9, 1944, page 3, vol. LIII, number 26.

“Colorado A & M College 33rd Annual Summer Session 1945”, map shows building as the “Soils Laboratory and Geology”, LD1146.C61 1945-1954 Archive.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, January 18, 1946, page 59.

Fort Collins Coloradoan, April 14, 1946, page 1, col. 2.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, May 8, 1946, page 105.

Colorado A&M News, August 1946, pages 1 and 8, vol. 1, number 2.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, October 3, 1947, page 1, vol. LVII, number 1.

The Colorado State College Alumnus, September - October 1947, pages 2, 7-8, vol. XXVI, number 14.

“Long Range Development Program”, Report to the Colorado State Planning Commission, March 1952, pages 12, 20 and campus maps, LD1145.8, A452, 1952, Archive.

Colorado State University Rocky Mountain Collegian, May 26, 1961, page 1, vol. LXIX, number 115.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, January 18, 1964, page 135.

The CSU Alumnus, November-December 1963, page 2, vol. 38, number 5.

Colorado State University Collegian, February 24, 1966, page 3, col. 1-4, vol. LXXIV, number 94.

CSU Collegian, April 29, 1968, page 6, vol. LXXVI, number 101.

CSU Collegian, February 3, 1971, page 5, vol. LXXIX, number 71.

“A History of Colorado State University 1870 – 1974”, by James E. Hansen II, 1974.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, June 27, 1984.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, October 11, 1994, 1-8a-z 1-1u-w.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, May 2, 1995, 1-12a-aa,1-1u-v.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, May 5, 1995, page 1, vol. 103, number 161.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, January 25, 1996, page 1, vol. 104, issue 86.

 Comment, November 18, 2004, page 1, vol. 35, number 11.

Colorado State University website at http://www.cemml.colostate.edu/.

Colorado Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation website at

https://www.historycolorado.org/sites/default/files/media/document/2017/Architects_groves.pdf

University of Colorado Library’s Sanborn Fire Insurance Map Collection, https://cudl.colorado.edu/luna/servlet/UCBOULDERCB1~21~21.

CSU Architects Alpha List, March 17, 2015, by James E. Hansen II.

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