Students at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point may not know the history of the buildings that they walk in and out of every day. These are more than large infrastructures molded to fit the purpose of classrooms or offices.There is a history behind these walls; perhaps a story that is long overdue.
The Allen Center was first created to provide a dining service suitable for approximately 1,200 people. It would also accommodate a lounge space along with dormitories on two sides. A lot of money and thought went into this project but no one knew in the next few years’ plans it would be put on hold for another project.
On Sep. 26, 1968, The Pointer issued an article “Allen Center Remodeling May Occur Next Semester” that spoke about how the Allen Center basement renovations were being put on hold because further work had not been approved by Madison.
However, theAllen Center was a self-supporting project and did not use any tax dollars. Although tax dollars were not required for the building of the Allen Center, expenses ran higher than expected and funds were being spent in a different direction.
The money that would have been used to continue the basement in the Allen Center was usedfor Debot Residence Center named after Elizabeth Pfiffner Debot, Dean of Women. On April 20, 1967, The Pointer issued another article, “Debot Center Dedication, ABC Meet Set For Sunday,” which highlighted Debot as the second dining facility on campus. However, not everyone was happy with this.
Now that Debot was the new hot topic, the Allen Center continuously got the cold shoulder; eventually to the point that the Allen Center would close. This did not sit well with students who had to wait in long lines to eat at Debot when the Allen Center was closer.
Before the Allen Center was no longer used as a dining facility, only certain meals like dinner and continental breakfast were served. Some say this foreshadowed the complete closing of the Allen Center as a place where students could eat. In 1991, it was proposed that the university did not have enough money to keep both Debot and the Allen Center as dining facilities. Some students complained that it provided more open space than better service than the Allen Center. As Debot had its second major renovation, the Allen Center lost its identity.
“I had my wedding reception at the Allen Center back when it had dining services,” said Laurie Graboski-Bauerfrom the Multi-Cultural Resource Center. “It was common back then.”
Just like these two buildings hold a history that may not live on the tongues of a lot of students, so does Nelson Hall (the second oldest building on campus next to Old Main), named after George Nelson.
In 1918, Nelson Hall housed a World War I student army training core unit, a student sit-in place in 1970 to protest the war in Cambodia, and throughout the years has been used for classrooms and health purposes.
“Wow! I did not know Nelson Hall existed,” said sophomore Spanish major Maira Avila.
Every student may not know of this history, but these buildings hold the secrets that often remain untold more often than not.