CSU Archives and Special Collections

CSU Buildings and Grounds History

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

Wood Science Laboratory/Troxell Wood Utilization Laboratory/Bishop Trainer Building (1959-1994)

A room with wooden benches and wooden panels on the walls.

Troxell Wood Utilization Laboratory Interior, 1960

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 – United States Army, Physical Plant Department

Builder – WPA led by foreman Earl Hershey (1941)

Originally, this wooden building was constructed by WPA workers in 1941 as the “Bishop Trainer” Building of the Military Department.  Materials salvaged from the old cafeteria building on the Oval were likely used in its construction.  No longer needing a training facility for artillery, during the early 1950s, the building and its dirt floor served as storage for boxes of unused books owned by the library.  In 1957 the building was transferred from the Military Department to the Department of Forest and Wood Science.  The 1958 and 1959 Summer Session Bulletin campus maps continued to show the structure as the “Bishop Trainer Building”.

Through the efforts of Wood Science Professor Dr. Harry E. Troxell, funds and materials were donated to the University and in October 1958 work began to convert the building for use by the Wood Science Department.  This major overhaul used materials donated by companies in the wood products industry.  On February 21, 1959, it was dedicated as the Troxell Wood Utilization Laboratory. Every office and classroom had different materials used in the construction of its ceiling and walls.  There were 30 different species of wood used in the hallway.  Each was marked with a number for use as reference making the entire building a library for students learning about the wood products industry.

In 1965, a Mechanical Testing Laboratory was added to allow the testing of stress loads on different varieties of wood.  By late 1989, discussions were being held about tearing down the building and moving the classes and lab work into the neighboring General Services Building. This did not happen.  In fact, 1992 and 1993 campus maps show an addition being added to the building’s east side in the summer of 1992.  Change continued and within a couple of years, only three undergraduate students were still declared “Wood Science” majors. 


Across the street, the new Natural and Environmental Science Building opened in October 1994. The Wood Utilization Laboratory was abandoned at that time.  The World War II vintage military support building was demolished in the summer of 1995 and the land it occupied was carefully cleaned of hazardous chemicals left over from years of learning to treat wood products.  Once cleaned, the soil was monitored for many months for any signs of remaining residue.  Environmental safety officials eventually gave their approval, and the site was fully paved over for a parking lot west of the General Services Building in 1996.  This unique building served such professors as Dr. Harry E. Troxell and Dr. Craig Shuler in enlightening students on the role of wood as a forest resource.

Sources by Gordon A. Hazard

Rocky Mountain Collegian, December 19, 1928, page 2, col. 3-4, vol. XXXVIII, number 15.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, January 16, 1929, page 5, vol. XXXVIII, number 16.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, April 24, 1941, page 5, vol. L, number 31.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, December 11, 1941, page 1, vol. LI, number 14.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, December 18, 1941, page 1, vol. LI, number 15.

Colorado State College, The Alumnus, January 1942, page 3, vol. XXIII, number 2.

Biennial Report of the State Board of Agriculture, December 1942, page 9.

“Long Range Development Program”, Report to the Colorado State Planning Commission, March 1952, page 10 and campus maps.

Colorado A&M News, December 1955, pages 1-9, vol. 10, number 6.

State Board of Agriculture Minutes, February 8, 1957, pages 121-122.

Colorado State University News, September1957, pages 2 and 7, vol. 12, number 3.

Colorado State University News, August 1958, page 5, vol. 13, number 2

Summer Session Bulletin campus map 1958 – 1959.

Colorado State University Collegian, February 1, 1961, page 1, col. 4, vol. LXIX, number 58.

The Colorado Aggie Alumnus, January - February 1963, page 3, col. 3, vol. 38, number 1.

Colorado State University Collegian, October 21, 1965, page 1, col. 4, vol. LXXIV, number 29.

CSU Collegian, October 13, 1967, page 7, col. 3, vol. LXXVI, number 14.

CSU Collegian, November 6, 1969, page 6, vol. LXXVIII, number 34.

The CSU Alumnus, November – December 1969, page 6, vol. 45, number 5.

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

CSU Comments, September 16, 1982, page 3, vol. 13, number 5.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, October 18, 1982, page 3, vol. XCI, number 47.

Colorado State University Comment, October 20, 1983, pages 1-2, vol. 14, number 10.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, September 4, 1986, page 3, vol. 95, number 22.

Colorado State University Comments, December 10, 1987, page 3, vol. 18, number 16.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, October 13, 1988, page 1, vol. 97, number 55.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, November 28, 1989, page s 1 and 7, vol. 98, number 75.

Comment, April 15, 1993, page 1, vol. 23, number 25.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, May 3, 1993, page 3, vol. 101, issue 151.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, August 26, 1994, page 1, vol. 103, number 17.

Comment, August 24, 1995, page 3, vol. 26, number 1.

Agricultural Frontier to Electronic Frontier – A History of Colorado State University Libraries 1870-1994, page 87, by Douglas J. Ernest, published 1996.

Comment, August 29, 1996, page 1, vol. 27, number 2.

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