The WPI Campus

Boynton Hall (1868)

WPI was established in 1865 through John Boynton’s anonymous gift of $100,000. Not until Boynton’s death was his true generosity understood, for only then was he identified as the donor. Due to a generous gift from Stephen Salisbury II, the Institute finally acquired a home. The original five-acre tract where the school was to be erected was located between Waldo Street (Boynton Street) and Bliss Street (West Street). Between September 1869 and October 1870, Salisbury donated two more gifts of land that amounted to 4.5 acres. Stephen C. Earle won a contest to design the building to be placed on this land.

Earle received $1,600 for the design that called for a Gothic Revival appearance. The Worcester company Tower & Raymond signed a contract on February 18, 1867, with a winning bid of $5,500. Granite from the Millstone Hill quarry was used for the construction because the quarry belonged to the inhabitants of Worcester and the material could be obtained for free. Calvert Vaux, famous for his design of New York’s Central Park, traveled to Worcester for a fee of $100 to advise the grading and design of a network of paths and roads that traversed the steep hill.

At the cost of $73,343.68, the new building was erected. By this time, Boynton had died of pneumonia. The Institute’s first Board of Trustees decided to name the building in Boynton’s honor; on November 11, 1868, the building was dedicated Boynton Hall. The first floor of Boynton, then the college’s only classroom building, was designed to house a large physical laboratory, a reagent room and balance room for chemistry, an instrument room, classrooms, a small lecture room, the library, and the President’s room. The second floor contained a chemical lecture room, more classrooms, a small lecture room, and a drawing room. The third floor housed a chapel, a large mechanical drawing room, a lecture room, a model room, and an office.

Boynton Hall has seen many changes since its initial construction, yet the exterior remains virtually unaltered. All the classrooms and laboratories have since moved to other buildings on campus. In 1978, the interior received extensive renovations that brought the building to its appearance today. Boynton Hall now houses the offices of the President, the Provost, Financial Services, Marketing and Communications, and Graduate Admissions.

Boynton Hall still stands as a landmark in the city of Worcester, one of the nation’s strongest cities during the American Industrial Revolution. The impressive academic Gothic Revival structure that Earle designed is believed to be the first gothic collegiate building in the United States. Thus, this Institute is proud to claim that the tradition of gothic "old main" college buildings in America started with Boynton Hall.

Washburn Shops (1868)

Washburn Shops was built completely under the supervision of Ichabod Washburn. To reflect its function, it was built using manufactured bricks. Designed by Elbridge Boyden and Sons, (the architects of Mechanics Hall), the building was to measure 102 feet by 44 feet and be three stories high. Enclosing the boiler, engine room and blacksmith shop, an ell was located at the rear of the north end of the building. The main building contained the iron working and wood working equipment. The total cost of the building ran between $12,000 and $15,000. Due to his ill health, Ichabod Washburn died two months before the building’s completion, but left sufficient funds to aid the shops financially. Charles Morgan, a friend of Ichabod Washburn, completed the shops.

M.P. Higgins

A shop committee was commissioned to direct the business of the shops, propose management rules, and commission a superintendent. Among the superintendent’s responsibilities were stock purchases, hiring, and the general upkeep of the building. Milton P. Higgins, a graduate of Dartmouth’s Chandler Scientific School, was named the first superintendent. In 1882, an obligatory apprentice period lasting five months was required of all mechanical engineering students. This period of practical training finally instituted Ichabod Washburn’s idea of practical and theoretical study.

The shops were run as a business with profits coming from the sales of its products. This profit supported the Washburn Shops in its procurement of supplies, wages, and other miscellaneous expenses. Most of the products were built by students under the supervision of their instructors. The students were not allowed to create anything until they acquired the basic skills in woodworking and iron working. The first notable product produced was an adjustable drawing stand, which the school continued to sell for sixty years thereafter. During the World War the shops were used for the production of military goods.

In 1955 the required apprenticeship was abolished, leaving the building open to new options. A 10-Kilowatt atomic reactor was then built. The reactor helped create studies on chain reactions for students interested in the fundamentals of reactor operations. In the 1960s a material engineering laboratory was placed back within the shops.

In 1984 the shops were fully renovated. Washburn is the oldest building in the United States still used for engineering education.

Magnetic Laboratory (1886)

Stephen Salisbury III’s newfound interest in the development of electricity led him to donate a large sum of money to be used in the construction of a technologically advanced electric and magnetic laboratory. Construction began in 1886 following the designs of Stephen C. Earle.

Alonzo S. Kimball designed the interior of the building and gave directions as to its locale. Kimball established a meridian at a corner of the campus, where the present Institute Road meets Boynton Street, and it was on this spot that the magnetic laboratory was erected. Its axis coincided with the magnetic meridian, and through opposite windows in the tower passed the north and south meridian. The laws of magnetics dictated the total design of the laboratory. For this reason, no iron was used in the construction. The exterior walls were made of granite accented with Longmeadow sandstone. The floorboards and joists were secured with hand cut-brass nails. The building was constructed in such a way as to prevent vibration caused by external environmental conditions.

A heavy wire connecting the building with Salisbury Laboratories made the conducting of many delicate experiments possible. The success that Kimball achieved from his experiments in the laboratory was unfortunately only temporary due to the City of Worcester’s decision to build a horse railway to Boynton Street shortly after the building was erected. The increased traffic resulted in vibrations that the building was unable to withstand. Within two years, the horses were replaced with trolleys. Finally, in 1891, electric lights were added to the street; this added interference made the laboratory useless for its intended purpose

Beginning in 1911, the laboratory served for seven years as the headquarters for Tech News, the WPI student newspaper. Robert H. Goddard, a graduate of the class of 1908, became the next person to occupy the building. The interior was re-designed to facilitate his early rocket experiments sponsored by a grant from the Smithsonian Institution. In 1921, the old Magnetic Laboratory was remodeled for the last time. It became the home of Skull, WPI’s senior honor society, and in turn was renamed Skull Tomb.

Salisbury Laboratories (1889)

Stephen Salisbury II was one of WPI’s original benefactors and the first president of the corporation. In memory of his father, Stephen Salisbury III directed a letter to the board of trustees expressing his interest in presenting a gift to the Institute. The gift of $100,000 was immediately used to fill the pressing need for laboratory space. Again, Stephen Earle was commissioned for the new building. In June of 1887 the building was approved and construction started. The arrangement of the fourstory building was planned by the professors themselves to be as useful as possible. The building was named Salisbury Laboratories in honor of Stephen Salisbury II and Stephen Salisbury III at the laying of the corner stone in 1888 for their service to the Institute.

The building quickly began to contain mechanical engineering, chemistry, and physics. The new laboratory was at full capacity four years after completion. In 1893, plans were submitted and approved by the board to enlarge the facilities. It wasn’t until 1939 that two additions were made to the building. Electrical Engineering came to occupy some of this space but most of it was occupied by Kinnicutt Hall, named in honor of Leonard P. Kinnicutt, head of the Chemistry Department from 1892 to 1911.

Since 1939 two renovations were made to the building, in 1976 and 1998. Salisbury Laboratories is now the home of the Department of Humanities and Arts, K-12 Outreach Programs, and the Pre-Health Office. The building also contains several classrooms and extensive laboratory facilities.

Stratton Hall (1894)

Originally designated the engineering laboratories, Stratton Hall helped house the expanding Mechanical Engineering Department. It accompanied the then recent building of the Power House and the Hydraulics Laboratory around 1894, at a cost of $46,000. Stratton occupied a site across from the Washburn Shops on West Street. It is a four-story building 116 feet long and 53 feet deep. Its physical appearance is similar to Salisbury Laboratories as Earle and Fisher provided both designs. The first and second floors contained undivided space while the third floor contained a lecture hall, library, and recitation rooms. The fourth floor housed two drawing rooms, a machine design room, and a model room. These facilities allowed the majority of the Mechanical Engineering Department to move out of Salisbury Laboratories and Boynton Hall. Stratton Hall housed mechanical engineering until 1942 when plans for a new mechanical engineering building were approved.

The building was called Stratton Hall after Charles G. Stratton, class of 1875. A civil engineering graduate at WPI, Stratton spent most of his time with the Curtis Manufacturing Company. Stratton served WPI faithfully as a trustee and a member of the Alumni Association. He also assisted in the purchase of Bliss Field in 1909, the first step toward new athletic facilities at WPI.

Following the vacancy left by the mechanical engineering department in 1942, the Civil Engineering Department was slated to occupy Stratton Hall. In 1943 however, WPI was chosen as one of 22 colleges to direct the Navy V-12 Program. This officer-training program required the use of many facilities on campus including Stratton Hall. The building served as quarters for Navy seamen while Sanford Riley was commandeered as officer quarters. A wartime training center was developed under WPI’s physical education department providing the students with calisthenics drills. The V-12 Program continued until June of 1946.

The Mathematics and English departments coexisted in Stratton Hall after the departure of the Navy. As both departments grew in size, constraints on the facilities were apparent. Finally the English Department was relocated to Salisbury Laboratories. Currently only the Mathematics Department occupies Stratton Hall.

Foundry/Project Center (1902)

The new Iron Foundry, constructed in 1902, was a link with the past. Built north of Stratton Hall on West Street, the 90 by 52 square foot structure was designed to incorporate both instruction and commercial needs. Completed at an approximate cost of $11,000, the Foundry was erected following the instructions of Professor Arthur Willard French. The design was so successful that the directors of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition invited the Institute to design and supervise the construction of a similar model foundry at St. Louis for the 1904 World Exposition. The new building at the St. Louis Fair was a center of interest for engineers and foundry men.

Shortly after completion, the Foundry was redesigned into a "high-tech" forge shop. The costs incurred in the initial construction of the Foundry and its later conversion to the Forge Shop was financed by a $25,000 gift by Elmer Parker Howe. Howe was a member of the first class to enter the Institute. He graduated in 1871, a chemistry major and the valedictorian of his class. Like many others from the Institute’s first class, Howe never faltered in his support or concern with regard to WPI. He was a frequent contributor and gave of himself generously. From 1879 to 1892, he served on the Board of Trustees.

Commercially, the Foundry and Forge Shop claimed great prominence in New England. Many of the intricately designed components Robert Goddard needed for his experimentations were constructed on campus. The Foundry generated sizable revenues and as a result created some concerns regarding conflict of interest. Eventually, WPI elected to end commercial profit generating ventures and closed the shops. However, following the restructuring of the Institute’s undergraduate education program, (the WPI Plan), the old Foundry was renovated and converted into the Project Center. The Project Center now serves as the administrative center for WPI’s project work.

Atwater Kent Laboratories (1906)

Following its completion in 1907, Atwater Kent Laboratories was the first academic building in the United States totally devoted to electrical engineering. The success of electrical engineering at WPI was predominately due to the founding work of Professor Alonzo Kimball. In 1897, the number of electrical engineering majors equaled the number of graduates of all other departments. By the turn of the century, it was evident that the Physics Department could no longer support the demands of this subsidiary discipline. A consensus was reached that a new department must be created and a building to house it must be constructed.

Following Kimball’s death, Professor H. B. Smith took control of rallying support for the new building. Smith was quite successful in winning the support of the Board of Trustees. But, at the time, there were no funds for the new construction. Shortly thereafter, however, Stephen Salisbury III, (one of WPI’s greatest benefactors), left the Institute a bequest of $200,000. Within two weeks, the Board of Trustees authorized President Edmund Engler, the Institute’s third president, to proceed with plans for the new structure.

This new building, symbolically shaped in the form of an "E," officially opened with the Commencement exercises of the class of 1907. For many years, the new building did not have an official name (there was already a Salisbury Laboratories on campus). The building was known as both the "great laboratory" and the "EE building" until nearly 40 years later. In recognition of a gift of $109,300 following the death in 1949 of one of the Institute’s most famous non-graduates, the electrical engineering building was named Atwater Kent Laboratories. Atwater Kent, a radio pioneer, was a member of the class of 1900 who left after only a year of attendance.

Atwater Kent Laboratories has played a significant part in WPI’s history and traditions. Soon after its completion, all Tech activities centered on the new building. The first dances on the WPI campus were held there and the building’s main laboratory served as an auditorium for guest lecturers on numerous occasions. As the focal point of student pride, it was not surprising that the Freshman-Sophomore Rivalry would encompass the building. The Salisbury Street steps became the place where every freshman class had its class picture taken — and every sophomore class connived to prevent this from happening. Another legendary event took place in Atwater Kent at the Alumni Dinner of 1913. The Goat’s Head had been missing—while actually the Class of 1884 had hidden it in Nova Scotia. During the dinner it came as a great surprise when the original Goat’s Head was lowered to the Alumni Council via the traveling crane in the electrical engineering building.

Students studied the concepts of electrical engineering from large electrical equipment and power panel that ran the length of the floor. Teaching focused on the electric railway and the WPI test trolley. After World War II, Atwater Kent Laboratories received its first significant renovation. Smaller and more efficient equipment was now replacing the antiquated electrical devices. Smaller laboratories were also constructed. Renovations in 1961 and 1981 have brought Atwater Kent Laboratories to its appearance today. The building features a 200-seat lecture hall named after longtime WPI professor Hobart Newell, a cryptography and information security laboratory, an ultrasound research laboratory, an intelligent machines laboratory, image processing facilities, wireless information network labs, as well as several other significant laboratories.

Alumni Field (1914)

The Alumni Field and Gymnasium were provided by alumni in an effort to supply adequate facilities for physical training and athletics. This project was begun through the efforts of the Class of 1886 at the annual Alumni Council meeting of 1911. The spokesmen, Edward G. Watkins, Henry W. Carter, and John C. Miller, asked for immediate action and promised to pledge $1,000 each if 30 other classes would be equally generous.

Plans were drafted and sent to the entire alumni body setting a goal of $200,000 for a gymnasium and field. $100,000 was to be used for the gymnasium, $25,000 for grading the field and $75,000 for gym equipment and an endowment. The date construction would take place was contingent upon raising funds from alumni. Arthur D. Butterfield, a WPI professor, was to become the primary force in this fund-raising effort. Traveling as far as Colorado and Florida, Professor Butterfield almost single-handedly raised the $200,000 required by June 1913.

The field was originally planned for Bliss Field, a recent acquisition of the Institute. This plan was dropped when a 12-acre tract of land was purchased near Park Avenue. The new land provided a better playing field. Bids for construction were received in May 1923 with the contract awarded to Varnum P. Curtis. Professors Arthur W. French and Arthur J. Knight engineered the project.

By the end of October, drainage lines and grading had been completed. Final grading and seeding occurred in the spring of 1914 and an attractive iron fence and hedge along Park Avenue and Institute Road were completed for the 50th anniversary of WPI in 1915. The most recent additions include the OmniTurf all-weather field, an all-weather running track, with full track and field facilities, plus an improved lighting system for nighttime events and evening practices.

Alumni Gymnasium (1916)

Following the construction of Alumni Field, Alumni Gymnasium completed the athletics facilities built between 1913 and 1916. The site of the building, originally proposed for the top of the hill overlooking the field, was changed to the north line of Bliss Field. This change in location forced the purchase of more land, through alumni contributions.

A contract for the gymnasium was given to Central Building Co. in April 1915 for an estimated cost of $100,000. Excavation began soon after with a cornerstone ceremony scheduled for that June. The time schedule depended on raising the necessary funds. Arthur D. Butterfield again took the responsibility for the fund raising. Butterfield’s earlier success in raising alumni support helped WPI receive an additional $100,000 in support toward construction costs.

Both the field and the gymnasium were timed nicely for the 50th anniversary celebration of WPI. The anniversary helped generate more financial support than expected; surplus funds were directed to the construction of an indoor pool. The impetus behind the pool was Henry J. Fuller, son of Homer T. Fuller, the second president of WPI. America’s entry into World War I and the economic slump of the early 1920s, slowed completion of the pool for 10 years.

Alumni Gymnasium is one of two athletic facilities now located at WPI. It presently contains the locker rooms and athletic offices. It also is home to the WPI wrestling team, a nationally competitive wrestling program. An indoor track, a basketball court, swimming pool, fitness center, and the newly renovated bowling lanes, "Gompei’s Gutters," now round out the facilities in the gymnasium.

Higgins House (1923)

On the northwest corner of WPI stands a "castle." This Tudor-style mansion is called Higgins House after its original owner, Aldus Higgins. Higgins was a WPI graduate and son of Milton P. Higgins, the first superintendent of the Washburn Shops. After being widowed and left with two children, he married Mary Sprague Green in 1914. Soon after this marriage, he bought a dozen acres behind West Street and decided to build a home. He wanted his home to be like a castle, structured after Compton Wyngates Castle in Central England, a place he frequently visited.

In 1923, his castle was completed and he lived there with his wife until his death in 1948. During the time he spent there, he held parties and gatherings, usually with guests who were interested in art. An artist himself, he enjoyed having his guests bring their own work to show and had many famous paintings hung throughout the house.In 1970, Mary Higgins died, and at that time the house was bequeathed to WPI. The use of the house by the school has taken its toll on the original windows and carvings throughout the house, but much of its original beauty and charm remain and it is still called the "castle" at WPI.

The building is now used for many functions, such as weddings and dinners in its Great Hall, lectures in the library, and lunch in the faculty dining room. The Office of the Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations, Office of Alumni Relations, and Development Communications use the upstairs of the house as office space.

Higgins House is still known as the most haunted building on Campus because of Mary Higgins’ death there. The Alumni Relations staff and students who visit Higgins House frequently mention hearing sounds near the hidden staircase where her body was found.

Sanford Riley Hall (1926)

In September of 1927, WPI finally had a residence hall. Sanford Riley Hall, which faces Alumni Gym, was the first residence hall in accordance with President Ralph Earle’s master plan of development for the campus. The residence halls would be placed around the campus to form a quadrangle with Alumni Gym and Sanford Riley Hall.

The hall was named after Sanford Riley, WPI graduate and president of the class of 1896. He and his wife, Katherine Higgins, daughter of Milton P. Higgins, were very interested in the project of a residence hall, but in 1926, Sanford Riley died, one month before he was to become a member of the Board of Trustees. Mourning a great loss to the Institute, the board decided to name the new residence hall in honor of Riley. Conrad Riley, the youngest son of the family, turned the first spade of earth for the new building.

Rising four and one-half stories, the residence hall originally housed 115 men in 66 rooms and had a dining hall in the basement. After renovations over the years, the hall is now coed with rooms for one to four people. The Goat’s Head Pub was placed in the basement in the 1970s and used as a senior pub and lounge. In 1986, the pub was remodeled and renamed Gompei’s Place. This was the school deli and pizzeria until the opening of the Campus Center in 2001, when it closed. Riley Commons is a large lounge area in the basement, used by many groups for different functions. In the fall of 2005, the Little Theatre opened in the space formerly occupied by Gompei’s Place.

Alden Memorial (1940)

After the addition of Kinnicutt Hall to Salisbury Labs, the board decided it was time to connect the east and west sides of campus. Alden Memorial Auditorium and Earle Bridge became the projects that would do this. The George I. Alden Trust made Alden Memorial possible. George Ira Alden, a colorful person in WPI’s history, was one of the first professors of Practical and Theoretical Mechanics at the Institute. He became a friend to Milton P. Higgins and they both later left WPI to work together in the private sector.

The site for the auditorium was selected on the sloping hill of West Street. The building was constructed along the hill with the heavier portion of the building at the lower end and a tower to offset the difference in elevation. The tower would serve as an entrance from West Street and there would also be a north end entrance directly into the auditorium. The auditorium is an open hall with stained glass medallions depicting scenes from American history. There is a stage on one end of the hall and a balcony at the other. The remainder of the building originally housed offices; the basement level was home to the school’s general library. Today Alden is home to WPI’s performing arts. The basement is filled with music practice rooms and the hall is used for musical and theatrical performances. The hall is also one of the main function rooms at WPI, used for dinners, dances, and lectures.

Earle Bridge (1940)

Paul Morgan a member of the class of 1890 sponsored Earle Bridge. He was of the second generation in a family that would support WPI through five generations. Earle Bridge, named in honor of President Ralph Earle, was completed to provide access between the east and west sides of campus. It was a dream of Earle’s as early as 1926 with plans developed by the Civil Engineering Department. Contributors, however, were concerned with the lack of tangible objective on the west side. The dream of the bridge was not realized until Alden Memorial Auditorium was finalized. Completed for the 75th anniversary of the Institute, the bridge was built from Boynton Hall’s walkway, over West Street, to the front of Alden.

Higgins Laboratories (1941)

Until the 1940s the Mechanical Engineering Department was located in Stratton Hall. In 1942 it was decided that a new mechanical engineering building would be erected. New laboratories in the building were made for heat transfer, lubricants, fuels, structure of metals, refrigeration, internal combustion, and others. Named for Milton P. Higgins, Higgins Laboratories was built in 1942.

Mechanical Engineering is one of the oldest departments at WPI, and keeping it updated with new facilities and equipment is important. Renovations, including the construction of an addition with a dramatic glassed-in entrance facing the Quad, and a rededication of the labs occurred in 1996. The labs contain laser systems, wind tunnels in the basement, and a large student project lab. It is also home to one of the nation’s few fire protection engineering departments.

Kaven Hall (1954)

Located on the corner of Salisbury and Boynton Streets, Kaven Hall is home to WPI’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. The building has changed little since its completion in 1954. The brick facades accented with limestone trim were selected to complement Atwater Kent Laboratories. The shape of the building forms the letter "C" denoting civil engineering just as Atwater Kent is shaped like an "E" for electrical engineering.

The building was named in honor of Moses Bates Kaven who was neither a civil engineer nor a contributor to the funds for its construction. Kaven graduated as a mechanical engineer and president of the Class of 1885. As a WPI trustee, Kaven led the mission to promote annual alumni giving. His early responsibilities included overseeing the collection of pledges for the construction of Alumni Field and for the Alumni Association’s $1 million endowment campaign. It was not uncommon for him to assume the balances for unpaid pledges proven uncollectable to the Alumni Fund. A modest man, Kaven frequently concealed his generosity under his class year. In 1928, in recognition of his devotion to his alma mater, he was presented with an honorary doctor of engineering degree. At the time of his death, he had provided the largest sum of money earmarked for financial aid in the Institute’s history.

Morgan Hall (1958)

Morgan Hall, WPI’s second residence hall, was opened in 1958 and was named after a prominent Worcester family of industrialists, the Morgans. Five generations of Morgans have been associated with the administration and affairs of WPI. Charles H. Morgan came to WPI in 1864 and became a valued confidante of Ichabod Washburn. He was employed to oversee the construction of Washburn Shops. In 1866, he was asked to join the Board of Trustees. Paul B. Morgan, son of Charles, graduated from WPI as a member of the class of 1890. He too was asked to be a trustee in 1920. The third generation, Philip M. Morgan, served three concurrent terms with his father, Paul. In 1965, Paul S. Morgan succeeded his father, Philip. Currently Trustee Philip R. Morgan represents the fifth generation of Morgans involved with WPI.

Morgan Hall was originally planned to house 192 students in eight single and 92 double rooms. The plans called for moving the campus dining hall out of the basement of Sanford Riley Hall and into the first floor of Morgan. The new cafeteria-dining room had seating capacity for 400 individuals. Adjoining the large dining hall were two smaller private dining rooms that combined could host 175 people.

More than 30 years later, Morgan Hall provides residences for 201 freshmen. It was the last all-male residence hall on campus, and in 1999 females moved into the newly renovated hall. Alongside the dining hall is a multipurpose area called the "Wedge." Constructed in 1973, the Wedge connects Morgan Hall with Daniels Hall and has areas for studying, student activities, and special functions.

Olin Hall (1958)

On December 28, 1956, the Olin Foundation set aside $1,229,000 for the construction of a physics building to replace the facilities located in Salisbury Laboratories. The cornerstone ceremony held in November of 1958 brought about the birth of a revitalized physics department through the generosity of Franklin W. Olin. Born in Woodford City, Vt., in 1860, Olin attended school only until the age of 13, yet was prepared to enter Cornell University for the study of civil engineering at the age of 22. To pay college expenses Olin worked as a teacher and a field repairman for agricultural machinery; he also played professional baseball. Following graduation in 1886, he worked with knitting mill machinery and a mill to manufacture gunpowder. In 1892, Olin created the Equitable Powder Company. In 1898, he refined a cartridgeloading machine and became the head of the Western Cartridge Company. This company became the precursor to Olin Industries, manufacturer of sporting arms, cartridges, and gunpowder. Mindful of the hardships he endured to attain an education, Olin helped to improve the educational process at Cornell University. He actively served Cornell until his death in 1951. Following his death, a foundation was established to continue his educational philanthropy. In over 50 years of existence, the Olin Foundation has built 54 buildings at 41 different institutions.

Olin Hall brought new educational opportunities to the WPI campus beginning in the summer of 1959. From its 208-student lecture hall to the 17 general and special laboratories, Olin Hall helped extend the instructional program of the school. Other facilities include six classrooms, 13 offices, a seminar room, a departmental library and reading room, a student and a faculty workshop, and a room housing a Van de Graff accelerator. The accelerator is the only one in the nation used by undergraduate students. The accelerator also served the community by providing radioactive isotope production for schools, hospitals and research in activation analysis. Combined with the 10- kilowatt reactor in the Washburn Shops, WPI was in the forefront of technology and its applications in this field.

The lobby just outside the main entrance contains a wall made from Tennessee greenstone marble bearing a memorial plaque honoring Franklin W. Olin and the Olin Foundation for its generous support. Further memorabilia relating to the Olin Foundation and its generosity is sealed within a lead box in the cornerstone of the building.

Daniels Hall (1963)

Daniels Hall, the third dormitory to be erected on WPI’s campus, was originally designed to house 180 men. It also contained the offices of Tech News and the Peddler (yearbook), as well as the campus bookstore. Fred H. Daniels, the namesake for the building, was a member of the third graduating class of WPI, a Worcester manufacturer, and WPI trustee. Clarence Daniels, a son of Fred Daniels, was also a student and a good friend of WPI. Another son, Harold, was a neighbor and trustee of the Institute.

Goddard Hall (1965)

Built during the development program in the 1950s and 1960s, Goddard Hall represented the second gift funded by the Olin Foundation. At a cost of $2 million, this building helped establish the Chemistry and Chemical Engineering departments at the corner of West and Salisbury Streets. Both of these departments had occupied cramped space in Salisbury Laboratories for many years.

Since the building was to house Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, the two departments occupy independent wings and have a common center for administration. Each wing has classroom and laboratory space for their departments. The laboratory facilities allow for the practical application of technology in the chemistry fields.

In 2008, renovations began in Goddard Hall, thanks to a $11.5 million contribution from the George I. Alden Trust. The renovations resulted in the George I. Alden Life Sciences and Bioengineering Educational Center, a state-of-the-art facility for WPI’s undergraduate life sciences and bioengineering programs. In addition to Chemical Engineering, Goddard Hall now houses the departments of Biology and Biotechnology, Biomedical Engineering, and Chemistry and Biochemistry. The center is named for one of WPI’s earliest professors and founder of the George I. Alden Trust, WPI’s most generous benefactor.

Goddard Hall bears the name of a famous WPI graduate, Robert Hutchings Goddard, Class of 1908. Goddard is noted in history for being the "father of modern rocketry." As a child, he dreamed of space exploration and vowed that one day he would make it happen. Space travel became his life’s work as he delved into every aspect of flight. He toyed with means of propulsion in place of gas balloons and propeller craft, but he settled upon the rocket. He also developed an idea and methodology for orbiting and landing on planets. Goddard continued his rocket studies without much recognition as a professor at Clark University. Eventually, Goddard’s work received the attention of the Smithsonian Institution.

Gordon Library (1967)

Completed in 1967, the George C. Gordon Library was a much-needed addition to the campus. Relieving the strain placed on the departmental and the general library in Alden Hall, the new facility provided space for conference rooms, browsing rooms, and enough space to accommodate 600 students. The main entrance on the west side of campus faces the Washburn Shops and Salisbury Labs. Its five stories were placed on the hill overlooking Boynton Street and the city beyond.

The building was named for the man who founded the entire project, George C. Gordon, a WPI graduate who left the school $5 million upon his death. At the time, his gift was the largest in WPI’s 100-year history. The funding also provided an endowed professorship.

Harrington Auditorium (1968)

Officially opened on February 27, 1968, Harrington Auditorium provided a multipurpose auditorium for social functions and athletic events. The auditorium is used for musical concerts, comedic acts and athletic competitions, and serves as a rain location for Commencement.

The auditorium was named for the Harrington family, a family that cared about the athletics and student life at WPI. Charles A. Harrington, Class of 1895, and his brother Frank C. Harrington, Class of 1898, helped form the WPI Athletic Association. The two brothers worked to improve student life on campus. Beginning in 1914, their work resulted in the construction of Alumni Gymnasium and Alumni Field. In 1916, they integrated the physical education department and athletics. The school honored these brothers and all they did for athletics by building Harrington Auditorium. Further contribution by Anna Harrington Boardman, Frank’s daughter, established an endowment that became the Harrington Auditorium Maintenance Fund.

Stoddard Residence Center (1969)

Groundbreaking for the Stoddard Residence Center took place on April 10, 1969, and the doors opened in September 1970. Resembling three small apartment complexes that open up to a common area in the middle, the center brought a different approach to student housing by making it feel like a small community. The Stoddard Residence Center was the first WPI building to leave the "boundaries" of the campus. It reaches out across Institute Road to the side streets of the Worcester community.

The center was made possible through the generosity of friends of the Institute. The Stoddards, for whom the complex is named, were well-known contributors to WPI and the City of Worcester. Robert W. Stoddard, a member of WPI’s Board of Trustees, and his brother-in-law, Paris Fletcher, also a member of the board, made the necessary contribution to start the construction.

Ellsworth/Fuller Apartments (1972)

The Ellsworth/Fuller Apartments, located next to the Stoddard Residence Center, were completed in 1973. The fifth residential housing on campus is made up of apartment units for upperclassmen. The units range from three- to seven-person capacities with a kitchen, a bathroom, and bedrooms. The Ruth H. and Warren A. Ellsworth Foundation, along with the Sybil H. and George F. Fuller Foundations funded these apartments.

Founders Hall (1984)

Completed in 1985, Founders Hall was the sixth residence hall. It provides on-campus housing for 232 upperclassmen. The building was named in honor of the original founders of the Institute: John Boynton, Ichabod Washburn, Emory Washburn, David Whitcomb, Seth Sweetser, George Frisbee Hoar, Stephen Salisbury II, Phillip Moen, and Charles O. Thompson. Total construction cost was $7 million, or $30,000 per bed. The coed, four-story building holds four- and sixperson suites, each consisting of bedrooms, living room, and bathroom. On the first floor is WPI’s second dining hall, which includes a student dining room and two separate kitchens. The basement has two study lounges, two conference rooms, and a laundry facility. Founders Hall was more modern in appearance though the brick look was kept to complement the rest of the traditional campus.

Institute Hall (1989)

In April of 1989, the administration announced that the incoming frreshman class of 1993 would be approximately 700 students, the largest class in WPI’s history. Unless something was done to provide additional housing, there would not have been enough room to accommodate all of the new students, so Institute Hall, was renovated, creating the Institute’s newest residence hall.

Located across from Founders Hall on the comer of Institute Road and Boynton Street, the co-ed residence hall was originally constructed as the Princess Apartments. The Pi Chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity purchased the property, but when it experienced financial problems, it deeded the title of the property to WPI.

In April 1989, when the Admissions Office predicted the record class of 700 students, the decision was made to convert the former Princess Apartments into campus housing. The architectural firm of Earl R. Flansburgh & Associates of Boston quickly drew up plans and construction began under the contracting firm of R. H. White Construction Company Inc. There were only four months to completely rebuild the interior and refurbish the exterior. The interior was designed in single, double and triple occupancy rooms to achieve maximum bed space; no lounge space was allotted on the floors. Construction decisions were made on the spot and a contingency plan for housing incoming students at a nearby hotel was also developed. In constant communication with the City of Worcester, construction continued until opening day with the final housing permit issued that morning.

At an expense of approximately $1 million, Institute Hall opened its doors to 70 male residents of the Class of 1993. Since no lounge space was provided on individual floors, the basement was designed to serve as a multipurpose facility. Located within this space is a study lounge, television room, recreation room, and a laundry facility.

Fuller Laboratories (1990)

Approaching the northeast end of the WPI campus, one cannot help but notice the information sciences building, the George F. Fuller Laboratories. The building houses the Computer Science Department, the Computing and Communications Center, the Academic Technology Center, and the Robotics Engineering Program.

The facility is named in honor of the late George F. Fuller, a longtime trustee of WPI and former chairman of Wyman-Gordon Company. Contributions of the George F. and Sybil H. Fuller Foundation laid the groundwork for the construction of the $10 million facility.

Designed by Payette Associates, a Boston-based firm, Fuller Laboratories blends its modern appearance into the campus through the use of brick. It provides a striking example of modern architecture, from the 176-foot skylight to the glass-enclosed lounge and conference rooms. A central skylight, acting as a spine to the building, separates it into three main sections — offices, laboratories, and a 400-seat lecture hall. A central staircase runs the length of the building allowing access to all levels.

The lecture hall, a gift from Raymond J. Perreault ’38, contains a variety of sophisticated equipment ranging from a seven-speaker sound system to a two projector audio-visual system. Perreault, president of the Falls Machine Screw Company, donated $750,000 to be used solely for the purpose of building this auditorium.

Besides the lecture hall, Fuller contains several classrooms and computer laboratories. Thirty miles of cable provides power and electronic communications everywhere within Fuller Laboratories. A lounge and 16-chair conference room provide further meeting facilities for members of the WPI community.

Reunion Plaza and Fountain (1996)

When WPI reached a deal with the city of Worcester to close West Street between Institute Road and Salisbury Street, a unique walkway was envisioned by planners. Instead of a simple concrete sidewalk, a brick walkway with a fountain as its centerpiece was created.

Reunion Plaza and the fountain were made possible in large part by the Class of 1956 (on the occasion of their 40th Reunion) and by Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Hansen ’26. Though it represented a significant investment in campus beautification, administrators worried if people would actually congregate around the fountain. Almost a decade later, the fountain is where most students meet and relax between classes.

Campus Center (2001)

Completed in March 2001, the Campus Center stands as one of WPI’s proudest additions. The "Profiles in Good Taste" program provides a dining alternative to Morgan or Founders. Mail Services is housed on the lower level, along with a game room that includes foosball, darts, and pool. The main level offers Dunkin’ Donuts, a great place to get coffee before class, along with Barnes and Noble, for textbooks as well as clothing and computer accessories. The top level has administrative offices, several conference rooms, and space for student-run organizations, such as Interfraternity/Panhellenic Council, Social Committee (SocComm), Student Government Association, and the Student Activities. The WWPI radio station, The Towers, and Peddler offices are also located in the Campus Center.

Fuller Chemistry Complex (2005)

WPI completely transformed its first-year chemistry laboratory experience to enable students to learn chemistry through a real-world, project-enriched curriculum—the goal being to teach students how to analytically approach problem solving and scientific discovery. The curriculum change was made possible by a $3 million renovation to the suite of freshman chemistry laboratories in Goddard Hall and a full upgrade in equipment and instrumentation. The laboratories, known as the Fuller Chemistry Complex, are a result of a $1 million gift from the George F. and Sybil H. Fuller Foundation and other major gifts, and consist of two new laboratories accommodating 24 students each, totaling 3,800 square feet. Workspaces are designed for teams of two to four students, and a central conference area with modern audiovisual equipment provides space for faculty demonstrations, discussion, and instruction. Benches are equipped with gas, nitrogen, vacuum, deionized water, and electrical and network connections. In addition, students have use of electronic balances, Spectronic 20s, UV-visible spectrometers, Mel-temp apparatus, magnetic stirrer/hot plate units, pipettors, pH meters, and multiple sets of small-scale standard glassware and hardware.

Bartlett Center (2006)

The two-story Georgian Revival style building, located on the larger, revitalized, and pedestrian-friendly WPI Quadrangle, serves as the university’s home for admissions and financial aid and provides a central location for welcoming hundreds of prospective students and their families to campus. Visitors enter a large reception lobby, with a seating area for 35. The center also includes a 40-seat presentation area and several conference and meeting rooms. Bartlett Center is registered with the U.S. Green Building Council and has been designed using sustainable design principles under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program. Bartlett Center was made possible by a gift from Shirley V. and James P. Bartlett ’39.

WPI Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center (2007)

Gateway Park is a joint venture of WPI and the Worcester Business Development Corporation. Located near the intersection of I-190 and I-290, Gateway Park is designed as a 12-acre mixed-use destination for life sciences and biotech companies and the people who work for them. It serves as a hub for academic and medical institutions to enhance their leading-edge research programs in life sciences, biotechnology, and biochemical engineering, and a destination for companies large and small, focusing on all aspects of product development.

The project’s first venue, the WPI Life Sciences and Bioengi neering Center, consists of a new building located at 60-68 Prescott Street that hosts modern laboratories and support facilities, and a renovated former industrial building that provides space for offices, meeting rooms, and other amenities. "Initiating construction at Gateway Park signals our confidence in the ultimate success of this important component of downtown Worcester’s development," said President Dennis Berkey at the groundbreaking on June 27, 2005. "It is a significant step forward for WPI, for the partnership with the WBDC, and for the city. Locating our life sciences and bioengineering research and graduate programs in stateof- the-art facilities will bring an important scientific core to this development, which will enrich WPI’s educational efforts and attract potential collaborators to the site, both academic and corporate."

Currently, Gateway Park is home to WPI’s graduate programs in of biology and biotechnology, biomedical engineering, chemistry and biochemistry, and chemical engineering.

East Hall (2008)

In an effort to meet the demand for on-campus housing for upperclass students, WPI opened its newest and most revolutionary residence hall, East Hall, in A-Term 2008–09. "The building is designed specifically with the students’ needs and expectations in mind, including their desire for privacy, independence, safety, and security," according to Janet Richardson, vice president for Student Affairs and Campus Life.

This state-of-the-art residence hall, located on Boynton Street, features apartment-style housing for 232 upperclass students, and such amenities as recreation and fitness space, tech suites on each floor, and meeting rooms for group projects. It is fully air-conditioned, and has wireless access throughout. The site also features a parking garage and Worcester’s first "living green" roof, made possible by a generous gift from Trustee Judith Nitsch ’75 and her husband, Anthony Magliozzi. The environmentally conscious building was awarded LEED Gold certification.

Maintained by
[WPI] [Home] [Top]