Much of UH’s identity has been rooted in the fact that it’s largely a commuter school for a long time. Since its opening in 1927 as “Houston Junior College” without even a permanent building or land, it’s incredible to see how far on-campus life has come. Roy G. Cullen was the first permanent structure on campus built in 1939, where it still stands tall today. Not long after these first few buildings were constructed, the university saw a massive growth in enrollment due to the end of World War II and many people moving to Houston as a result. This certainly brought to light the need for on-campus housing.
The original “Quadrangle” dorms were built not long after World War II in 1949, which had five buildings called Bates, Law, Settegast, Oberholtzer, and Taub. These names are still present in the Quad today, as the courtyards are named in honor of them. While many were sad to see the original Quadrangle dorms demolished, since it was the most affordable housing on campus for many years, it was in desperate need of an upgrade. While the new Quad isn’t perfect, it’s certainly built in a great location on campus.
A decent amount of time later in 1970, Moody Towers was occupied for the first time. These dorms were such a huge step for the university as it allowed for 1100 more students to live on campus. While Moody may not be some people’s first choice when choosing on-campus housing nowadays, the towers were certainly an incredible leap forward for UH’s campus life.
Another UH housing fact that I find interesting is that Cougar Place was originally a log-cabin-style apartment building. It had about 400 units but towards the end of its life, it began to have significant problems, since it was built with wood framing rather than steel, which urged the university to tear it down and rebuild. In an article from The Cougar in 2008, the new name for Cougar Place was undecided at the time but the university evidently decided to keep the name when they reopened the current version of Cougar Place that we now know in 2011.
Not to forget freshmen, Cougar Village 1 was built in 2010 and Cougar Village 2 was built not long after in 2013. Having dorms built exclusively for freshmen is always a great idea, in my experience. While I transferred to UH at the start of my sophomore year, I did live in a freshman dorm during my first semester of college. It’s so much easier to make friends when you’re surrounded by people that are going through the same things as you in a new environment. Although the cost of housing continues to increase, I’d especially recommend at least freshmen to live on campus. They’re the most likely people to have scholarships that may pay for housing, so the experience is truly invaluable.
UH’s housing has come a long way since the original Quad dorms were built in 1949. Whether you’re living at the Lofts, Bayou Oaks, or Moody Towers, UH’s campus life continues to expand and it’s incredible to see how vibrant it has become.