Dormitory History

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When the School of Mines and Metallurgy opened in 1914, students were encouraged to live in the dormitory on campus. Dean Worrell and his wife lived in the facility.

When the school relocated to its current site, the first dormitory for men opened at the in 1917 (now Graham Hall) and was named Kelly Hall in 1920. A second dormitory opened in 1921 (now Vowell Hall) and the school transferred the Kelly Hall name to it without approval from the Board of Regents. The first dorm was renamed Burges Hall in 1933; Kelly Hall in 1927 converted to classrooms following the expansion of the College of Mines into a general college. Burges Hall was renamed to its current name, Graham Hall, in 1972. Kelly Hall was renamed Vowell Hall in 1987.

In 1936, two new men and women residency halls opened which would later be named Worrell Hall and Benedict Hall. Both of these dormitories offered residents’ lounges, a radio, and room to dance. In 1936, the College of Mines and Metallurgy instituted the parietal rule requiring all out-of-town residents to live on-campus. For several years, this rule afforded many students living outside of El Paso the opportunity to attend college. This rule also drove to need to construct more dormitories as the growth of out-of-town students increased. In 1947, Bell Hall, a women’s residential hall, and Hudspeth Hall, a male dormitory were constructed. In 1950, Miners Hall opened to house the male athlete residents. In 1963, the new men’s dormitory, Burges Hall opened; bringing the totals to four dormitory facilities for male students and two for women.

In 1972, the residential options on-campus changed. Two sky-rise dormitory facilities with the ability to house about 350 students each were opened. Barry Hall housed the male students and the new Kelly Hall housed the female students. Many of the old dorms were repurposed as offices and classrooms, leaving Barry Hall and Kelly Hall the only residential facilities for out-of-town students; Burges Hall housed the male athletes. Living on-campus was no longer as appealing or as necessary as it was in 1936. In fact, enrollment of out-of-town students dropped considerably leaving the new dorms well below capacity. In 1973, the university revoked the parietal rule, turned the dormitories into co-educational facilities, and renovated the interior of Kelly Hall and Barry Hall to be more appealing to students. In 1977, both dorms had reached capacity. The two buildings would continue to house students until 1997, when Barry Hall was mothballed. In 2001, Miner Village opened and Burges Hall was converted to office space. In 2010, Miner Heights opened in order to accommodate an additional 200 students. Both Miner Village and Miner Heights offer on-campus living in state-of-the-art, apartment-like dorm rooms.

In 2015, construction on a new residential complex adjacent to the Student Recreation Center was expected to be completed by the beginning of the Fall 2015 semester. Named Miner Canyon, the complex would add an additional 83 units of housing to campus.

As of Fall 2015, the total residential capacity of UTEP was projected at 996 students.

Sources: Flowsheet, Heritage House collection; "UTEP Unveils State-of-the-Art Dorms," KTSM News, July 28, 2010; Undergraduate Catalog Archive; UTEP collection, Special Collections, University Library.

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