SOUTH COLLEGE AND PROPOSED NEW SCIENTIFIC BUILDING.
SOUTH COLLEGE DESIRABILITY OF A NEW BUILDING SUGGESTED APPROVED BY THE TRUSTEES SCOPE, CHARACTER, AND LOCATION OF IT MEETING IN WASHINGTON , D. C. PLA NS OF BUILDING. PROSPECTS.
SOUTH College, originally built as a church, was burned down in December, 1836, and re-built on its original foundation, and was exclusively used for the purpose of the Grammar School until 1846, when the College library, the museum, the lecture room of natural science, and laboratory were removed to it from West College. In 1865, the Grammar School was removed to West College,
and the library and museum were removed to the third floor, to make room for the laboratory, adjoining the lecture room. The building, although not in good repair, presents quite an agreeable general exterior, but owing to its construction upon a plan designed for entirely different purposes, a great portion of it cannot be utilized, at present, to advantage. The lecture-room and laboratory are comfortable in size and well lighted, but according to the report of Professor of Natural Science in 1878, the department has reached the limit of its growth and efficiency with its present accommodations. More room is needed to properly house and care for, and satisfactorily use the additional appliances the College should have, and the institution is also losing, each day, opportunities for the collection of valuable educational material for want of a larger and more suitable building. With such a building provided, any deficiencies in equipment could easily be removed. The rooms, at present occupied by the college library and the museum, are not in keeping with these two great interests of the College. With the college library and those of the two societies massed in a suitable room, not only would the thirty thousand volumes be more available for study, but would also form a juster impression of the resources of the College in this particular, whilst the museum, with the encouragement of proper apartments, could easily be rendered as complete as might be desired for the purposes of instruction.
Whilst the department, therefore, is not suffering at present, it has been thought advisable to make an effort to provide for the very near future. A suggestion in the same report that such a building, with proper and united effort, could be completed by the centennial of the College, in 1883, was received with favor by the Trustees, and a resolution was passed by them authorizing Professor Himes to raise the sum of $25,000, for the erection of such a building, and pledging their hearty
coöperation. According to another part of the same report, it was urged that the building should be a building not for the sake of a building, but for the sake of its uses, and to meet the wants of the College, as a college---should have ample provision for at least two professors in the department, and should, therefore, contain two lecture rooms, two laboratories for students---one chemical, the other physical---two offices and private laboratories for the professors, and the necessary rooms for appar-atus, &c., in both cases. For the present, at least, it should also contain accommodations for the library as well the museum. The College is fortunate in the possession of a beautiful lot of ground on Main street, ninety feet by two hundred and forty feet, unsurpassed in adaptation for a building for scientific purposes. It has a fine open exposure on all sides, and ample op- portunities for sunlight, so essential at this time, in many cases, for investigations and instruction in physical science, and withal it is of such a character that a highly creditable building in appearance could be erected with the least outlay, and without any necessity for the sacrifice of internal room or convenience for merely external display.
Plans have not yet been fully matured for bringing the matter before the friends of the College. In an informal meeting of friends of the College, including some leading scientific men and educators, as well as alumni, called together in Washington, to consult in regard to measures for the furtherance of the project, the state of the Scientific Department of the College was represented by Professor Himes, and the opinion expressed that any plan of building proposed should be for purely collegiate purposes; that a weak university was not necessarily a strong college, and that it should be formed exclusively with reference to the scientific uses to which the building was to be put. Very valuable suggestions were made by Professor Baird, of the Smithsonian Institution, of the class of
1840, and formerly a Professor in the College, as also by Professor Remsen, of the Johns Hopkins University. The latter especially dwelt upon the desirability of a building exclusively for scientific purposes, in preference to large monumental buildings for all purposes. The importance of extreme care in the preparation of a plan for a building of the kind proposed seemed, after a free interchange of opinions, to be so great, in order to avoid the defects and inconsistencies so frequently met with in buildings erected for scientific purposes, often at great cost, that Professor Baird, Hon. M. G. Emory, and Professor Himes were requested to prepare a plan, to be submittted to the Board of Trustees.
Although the time was entirely consumed with the consideration of the above more immediate objects of the meeting, there were incidental indications that when the enterprise is properly brought before the friends of the College there will be no failure for financial reasons, and that before the Centennial of the College, in 1883, its wants in this respect will be fully met.