From The Aquinas Archives: St. Thomas Hall becomes a reality for the U. of S.


Welcome to Saint Thomas Hall!

Beautiful; functional in every detail – it is, at once, an educator’s dream and a monument to the people of this area who helped build it for the higher education of our young people. Dramatic proof that the University is growing, St. Thomas Hall is also a pledge that we will continue to serve both the community and the nation. With such facilities that promote and encourage learning, the University cannot but feel an increased enthusiasm for study and a deeper dedication to the world of mind and heart.

St. Thomas Hall, made possible by the altruism of the people of northeastern Pennsylvania and the determination of men to whom education is a basic tool toward the betterment of the world, will be dedicated at ceremonies on Sunday, September 16, at 3:00 pm.

Officiating at the dedicatory exercises of the new edifice will be Rt. Rev. Msgr. Joseph A. Madden, who has been delegated by Bishop Jerome D. Hannan to perform the blessing.

An academic procession from the Student Center to Linden Street to the site of the laying of the cornerstone will precede the blessing. The building and crucifix will be blessed at the main entrance on Linden Street after which the Very Rev. John J. Long, S.J., president of the University, will address those attending from the main entrance deck.

The ceremonies on the 16th will be followed by tours of the new facility. Refreshments will be served in the parking lot opposite the main entrance. Father Long has extended, a cordial invitation to all friends of the University to attend.

The President’s Advisory Council, the Development Council, the Alumni Society Board of Governors and Chapter Presidents of the Alumni Society will attend an inspection and reception on Wednesday, September 12. The reception on the roof garden of the Student Center will be preceded by a tour of St. Thomas Hall at 5:00 pm. Judge T. Linus Hoban, Chairman of the President’s Board, will be toastmaster of the formal program. Dr. Clarence Walker, Columbia University Graduate School of Business Administration and a former chairman of the history department of the University of Scranton, will speak to the group.

Other pre-dedication ceremonies include inspection by various groups intimately associated with the development of the University, diocesan priests and religious sisters.

The edifice which will formally join the University’s facilities on the 16th of September represents not only the addition of a new building to the physical plant, but also the successful completion of the first phase of the University’s development program. It further represents, as do all the structures which have grown on the campus since 1956, another manifestation of the endless assistance of the thousands of friends of the University who have helped make the progress of the past seven years possible.

A milestone as significant as the completion of St. Thomas Hall creates many other milestones. Among them is the termination of what has been referred to as the “cardboard college” days of the University, which is a reference to the temporary Navy barracks which have been utilized for classrooms and offices in the past. The last of these barracks, the “A” building, has now been stripped of its classroom and office fixtures, its educational duties to be fulfilled from now on by St. Thomas Hall.

The “Old Main” building on Wyoming Avenue has also seen its last days of service to higher education. The heritage which it has given to the present University of Scranton has been symbolically transferred to the new building through the mortaring of the 1888 cornerstone into its walls. It is a symbol of continuity to the history of the Institution and a representation of the gratitude of those presently associated with the University to the founding fathers of St. Thomas College, as well as recognition of the service which the “Old Main” has provided.

The structure of St. Thomas Hall is of reinforced concrete continuous flat plate with all columns with all columns flush with the face of the interior walls. Exterior finish is of brick.

The west wing, which contains the administrative section of the building, extends for 192 feet along Linden Street and for 62 feet along Monroe Avenue. The east wing measures 122 feet along Catlin Court and 62 feet along the Linden Street side.

The gross total of 88,586 square feet of floor space is divided into 217 rooms. 128 of which are offices, 50 classrooms, 15 utility rooms, 11 equipment rooms and 10 corridors.

The finish of the interior walls is generally slag block with the exceptions of tile covered lobby and lavatory areas, vinyl covered administrative corridors and hardwood paneled executive offices and conference rooms.
Corridors and some stairwells in the building have terrazzo floors. Flooring in the lavatories is of ceramic tile, with the remainder covered by vinyl asbestos tile.
Materials used in the construction of the building also include 10 aluminum exterior and 257 wooden interior door and frames, 223 aluminum projected windows, 1503 electrical fixtures fed by 30 miles of wire and 111 plumbing fixtures.

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