CSU Archives and Special Collections

CSU Buildings and Grounds History

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

Occupational Therapy Building/Education Building/Home Economics Annex/Physics Building, 1920-

Three-story white brick structure with a tiled roof.

Physics Building, 1924

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.

Architect - Maurice B. Biscoe

Builder - Edward A. Reavill of Denver

800 Oval Drive

After a master plan for the campus was in place, in October 1919 construction was started on a new Physics Building.  Edward A. Reavill, a contractor from Denver, had submitted the lowest bid of $93,533.00 to do the work.  It was designed by architect Maurice B. Biscoe and was ready for use by the end of October 1920.  Its construction was slow at times due to a shortage of building materials.  Designed in the Italian Renaissance Revival style, it was located just north of the college cafeteria.  This was the only building on the campus designed by Mr. Biscoe.

This building appears to have been the first building constructed on the campus with fire escapes as part of the original design.  In January 1921, the Executive Committee of the State Board of Agriculture ordered the building superintendent to plan and get cost estimates for installing proper and suitable fire escapes in every building on the campus requiring them.  The new Physics Building was the exception as it already had fire escapes.

Following the opening of the new Engineering-Physics Building in the fall of 1957, this building became known as the “Home Economics Annex” when the Department of Home Economics moved in.  After the Gifford Building opened, the home economics classes moved to their new location and the use of the building once again changed.  In September 1977, the State Board of Agriculture officially renamed the building the “Education Building” as it became the home of the Department of Education for the next ten years.

In September 1987, the Department of Occupational Therapy (OT) and the Department of Education swapped buildings.  OT moved into the remodeled building after the Department of Education moved to the remodeled Humanities Building that had been vacated by the OT Department.  Today this building is known as the “Occupational Therapy Building”.  During the summer of 2004, the Occupational Therapy Garden was built on the south side of the building.  The garden was designed to show how an outdoor space could be accessible to people of all ages and abilities.  The Center for Community Partnerships (CCP) and the Assistive Technology Resource Center (ATRC) are located on the third floor of the building.

This building has endured three major floods.  On September 2, 1938, heavy rains caused flooding on campus. Five feet of water had to be pumped out of the Physics Building as well as other buildings around the Oval.  Floods in 1951 and 1997 also filled the lower levels of the building. 

Sources by Gordon A. Hazard

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, February 2, 1918, page 44, vol. Jan. 1917 – Aug. 1930.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, February 22, 1918, page 46, vol. Jan. 1917 – Aug. 1930.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, February 26, 1919, page 74, vol. Jan. 1917 – Aug. 1930.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, April 10, 1919, pages 1 and 6, vol. XXVIII, number 25.

C.A.C. Alumnus, May 1919, pages 1and 4, vol. 1, number 1.

Fort Collins Morning Express, June 26, 1919, page 1, col. 1, “Physics Building Planned”.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, September 11, 1919, pages 1, 5, vol. XXIX, number 2.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, September 23, 1919, page 88.

Fort Collins Morning Express, October 15, 1919, page 1, col. 1-2, “Bids Are to be Opened For New Physics Hall at College Wednesday”.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, October 24, 1919, pages 92-93.

Fort Collins Morning Express, October 26, 1919, page 1, col. 2, sec. 1, “College Contract is Awarded to Denver Construction Firm”.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, October 30, 1919, page 1, vol. XXIX, number 9.

C.A.C. Alumnus, November 1919, pages 1 and 4, vol. 1, number 6.

Fort Collins Morning Express, November 6, 1919, page 1, col. 1, “Work Started on New College Building”.

C.A.C. Alumnus, December 1919, page 3, vol. 1, number 7.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Meeting Minutes, June 28, 1920, page 116.

C.A.C. Alumnus, August 1920, page 8, vol. 2, numbers 2&3.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, September 16, 1920, page 1, vol. XXX, number 1.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, October 21, 1920, page 1, vol. XXX, number 6.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, December 2, 1920, page 1, vol. XXX, number 12.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, December 8, 1920, page 375.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, December 9, 1920, page 1, vol. XXX, number 13.

Fort Collins Morning Express, January 8, 1921, page 8, col. 4, “Buildings Not to be Dedicated Now”.

State Board of Agriculture Executive Committee Minutes, January 27, 1921, page 133, vol. Jan. 1917 – Aug. 1930.

C.A.C. Alumnus, February 1921, page 4, vol. 2, number 5.

C.A.C. Alumnus, March 1921, page 4, vol. 2, number 6.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, November 18, 1924, page 1, col. 7, vol. XXXIV, number 23.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, April 21, 1925, page 1, vol. XXXIV, number 56.

Colorado Agricultural College Bulletin, “Building Conditions at the Colorado State Institutions of Higher Learning”, series XXV, number 8, December 1926, page 24.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, November 27, 1935, page 4, vol. XLV, number 13.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, September 9, 1938, page 1, vol. XLVIII, number 1.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, February 5, 1942, page 1, vol. LI, number 20.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, April 9, 1942, page 1, col. 2, vol. LI, number 29.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, April 16, 1942, page 2, col.3, vol. LI, number 30.

Colorado A&M News, August 1951, page 2, vol. 6, number 2.

“Long Range Development Program”, Report to the Colorado State Planning Commission, March 1952, pages12, 21 and campus maps, LD1145.8, A452, 1952.

The Colorado Aggie Alumnus, November - December 1957, page 3, vol. 34, number 2.

The Colorado Aggie Alumnus, March - April 1959, pages 4-5, vol. 35, number 2.

Colorado State University Collegian, October 9, 1962, page 1, vol. LXXI, number 10.

CSU Collegian, June 22, 1972, page 4, vol. LXXXI, number 2.

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

Rocky Mountain Collegian, April 1, 1976, page 9, vol. LXXXIV, number 124.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, September 9, 1977, page 102.

Fort Collins Journal, September 27, 1977, page 3, vol. LXXXVI, number 35.

Campus map in the 1978-79 Directory, shows the building as the “Education Building”.

Comment, August 25, 1983, page 1, vol. 14, number 2.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, October 7, 1987, page 9, vol. 96, number 37.

“Colorado State University Directory, 1987-88”.

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, August 22, 1997, page 6, vol. 106, issue 1.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, August 25, 1997, page 14, vol. 106, issue 2.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, September 2, 1997, page 3, vol. 106, issue 6.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, September 9, 1997, page 5, vol. 106, issue 12.

Comment, September 13, 2001, page 3, vol. 32, number 4.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, November 8, 2004, pages 1 and 3, vol. 113, number 56.

“Democracy’s University – A History of Colorado State University 1970 – 2003” by James E. Hansen II, 2007, pp. 230, 347.

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