Belknap Campus and Speed School

July 24, 2018

After almost 50 years, you would expect the Campus to change. Enrollment has more than doubled in size, with approximately 70% of the freshmen now living on Campus. Dormitories, now called resident halls, are now both on and off Campus. In fact, Living Learning Communities, where up to 224 students that are taking similar courses, are living in the same building to allow for more collaboration and the opportunity to enhance their learning experience.

Restaurants are found throughout Campus now, whereas the Sub was about our only on campus opportunity for food when we were there. There is a Student Activities Center, which is much larger than the building that housed the Sub and Bookstore during our time on campus, which is the entertainment and social hub with a movie theater, game room, bookstore, space for student government and student involvement meeting space, and space for concerts and special events. In addition, on the west side of Campus on 4th Street, there is a Student Recreation Center, which is 128,000 square feet and houses intramural activities with 6 basketball courts, 2 racquetball courts, virtual golf, indoor multi-activities court, and an exterior ball field.

Over the years many of the Colleges (Business, Chemistry, Education, Life Sciences, Music, etc.) have built their own buildings. There are a number of classroom buildings that have been developed, to allow for sharing between educational programs. The Library is now centralized and much larger, and there is a University Club and Alumni Center for Alumni activities that houses the UL Alumni Association.

The sports complexes have developed to the east along Floyd Street, both to the north and to the south. Starting from the north and working our way south there is the softball field, track and field stadium, field hockey complex and stadium, natatorium, tennis center, men and women’s basketball practice facility, soccer stadium, football stadium, and the baseball stadium which runs parallel to Floyd and 3rd Street.

Altogether, Belknap campus is probably 4 times larger than when we were there. You can see from the campus map (below) how much it has grown.

2018 Map of UofL Belknap CampusHow has Speed campus changed, what will we see differently, and where are the landmarks we would have recognized:

The Tunnel under Eastern Parkway to improve pedestrian safety was built in 1941, although it was rarely used when we were there. The tunnel openings were covered over in 2010 with the redesign of Eastern Parkway when landscaping and a fence were added to the center of the Parkway, forcing pedestrian traffic to either 3rd St or the Speed School entrance.

We used to pass the Arts and Science Building on our way to the Sub Cafeteria or Bookstore, which was built in 1959 as the multipurpose student center and known as the hula hoop building. This building housed Adult Education, Cafeteria (Sub), bookstore, game room, Campus radio station, student government, and yearbook offices. In 1991 the computer center moved in, which was renamed the Miller Information Technology Center.

What we recall as the main library, just past the Sub, now houses the Fine Arts Department including classroom, studio, library, and gallery space. The new library moved to a new building (Ekstrom Library) in early 1979.

Formerly the northern boundary of the campus, Shipp Street has now disappeared because campus has totally absorbed any remnants of its existence. Shipp Street travelled northwest from Brook Street to 2nd Street. The only campus buildings north of Shipp Street were the dorms (Threlkeld, Stevenson, and Miller) which were bounded by Shipp, on the west by 1st, on the north by Brandeis Street, and on the east by Brook.

Gone also is Barbee Street, which went east west from Brook Street to 2nd street, and was located just north of the current Life Science Building. Brandeis Street partially exists and extends between the Business School on the west to the Alumni Center on the east. Avery Street, which is now named to Cardinal Blvd, is now the northern boundary of Campus.

A couple of landmarks that disappeared as a part of the Urban Renewal project were The Cardinal Inn and Coldispoti’s Pizza. There have been three Cardinal Inn restaurants over the years. The original restaurant was built in the mid 1920’s at the corner of First and Shipp Streets. In 1967 the Urban Renewal project forced a relocation due to expansion of the Campus. In 1967 the second Cardinal Inn located at the corner of Brook and Barbee Streets across from the Red Barn, and eventually again further north to the corner of Brook and Lee Streets. Coldispoti’s Pizza on Shipp St, between 1st and 2nd St, was demolished in 1967.

There are many other Landmarks around Campus that you will miss or realize have moved:

Crawford Gym was built in 1964 and was razed in 2016 to make way for a new academic building to open in the fall of 2018. Bob Ullrich, having been on the track and cross country team, stated that a great legacy was lost when the gym was demolished; his locker (1965-1969, rip) was demolished along with the building.

The Red Barn, which was across Brook St in a parking lot, was purchased in 1969 from Caldwell Tank, and was used for concerts dances and movies. In 1979 there was a major renovation which added space, exterior improvements, a stage, lighting, and sound equipment.

After much controversy about confederate monuments in public areas, the Confederate Monument on 3rd Street was relocated to Brandenburg, Ky. in 2016.

Masterson’s Restaurant was built in 1950 and operated for 65 years before it was demolished in 2015 for Cardinal Towne, which includes restaurants and student apartments.

The Playhouse was disassembled as an historic building to make room for the Ekstrom Library and stored for 3 years before being reassembled on a parcel of land between 2nd Street, Third Street, and Cardinal Blvd (Avery St).
In 1940 Reynolds Aluminum Co purchased the building from Ford Motor Company who used the building from 1916 until 1925. The building was primarily vacant when we were in school, but eventually was donated to U of L at some point. U of L used it for music practice studios, a print shop, scientific collections, and Photographic Archives. In 2001, the building was converted to condominiums.
The Ralston Purina silos along I-65, which were visible from the expressway and produced strong smells that permeated the campus, was eventually demolished in 2014. In the late 90’s huge letters were added facing I-65, spelling out the University of Louisville. The property continues to belong to the University.
Each of these represent changes throughout the Belknap campus, but what has been going on at Speed’s side of Eastern Parkway? At first glance there really doesn’t appear to much change at all, however in order to accommodate the expanded student body there have been additional space around Campus for Speed’s use. First let’s focus on any changes to some of the buildings at Speed:

The most obvious addition to Speed was the Henry Vogt Building in 1987, which is just west of Sackett Hall. This building was added for Rapid Prototyping, to house a super computer, an auditorium, classrooms, and seminar space.

The J. B. Speed Building itself has not physically changed much, however the use of the space is quite different. The Chemical Engineering Department, which was formally housed in the basement of J.B. Speed, has since moved to Ernst Hall. The large computer (a measure of it’s physical size) moved from the W. S. Speed Hall basement to the basement of the J.B. Speed Building, below the auditorium. Now that space is used by Speed students for study, meetings, and the Student Council.

The first floor was the Administration and Co-op offices, but now serves as the offices for the Engineering Fundamentals Department. The second floor formerly held the Speed Library, which was situated above the Auditorium on the east side and the Graphics Department on the west side. The Library moved to renovated space in the Industrial Research Building in the late 1970’s and the space is now used as offices. Likewise, the Graphics Lab area is currently the location of the Administration Offices. Finally the third floor, where the chemical labs were located, now houses the Industrial Engineering offices.

The Industrial Research Building behind J.B. Speed was pretty much unused space when we were there, but as mentioned the building was renovated and housed the Engineering library from the late ‘70’s and was named the Laura Kersey Library (named after Ms. Kersey, our librarian when we were there). In the late 1980’s the IR Building was added on to in the rear to make room for the Natural Science Collection, which was then combined with the Engineering library.

In early 2000’s the Engineering library was moved into the Ekstrom Library to make room for the Computer Engineering/Computer Science Department. In 2009, there was another remodel, primarily the first floor, to provide space for students to study as well as adding a sandwich shop, and space for the Co-op offices.That building is now called the Duthie Center.

Changes to W.S. Speed Hall and Sackett Hall have been minimal, but what slight changes have been made will be covered in future articles about the Engineering Departments.

We have mentioned that there have been other spaces available to Speed as the number of Engineering Departments and enrollment has grown. Below are three of the major buildings added, in addition to the classrooms and other miscellaneous spaces available around campus:

Paul C. Lutz Hall (a Graphics professor that you may remember when were there) was built in 1995 and currently houses the Bio-Engineering Department and Labs primarily, but is also used by Electrical and Computer Engineering, Chemical Engineering, and Computer Engineering and Computer Science Departments. It is located just northeast of the Sub and Old Library location.

John W. Shumaker Research Building was built in 2005 and contains a 10,000 sq. ft cleanroom core facility, and nanotechnology and bioengineering research laboratories.

First Build/Engineering Garage is located at the northeast corner of Floyd and Brandeis Streets. First Build was built in 2014 on Campus to provide the launch of a new product development process. GE and Local Motors, the open-source hardware innovator, partnered to create a new way of innovating and manufacturing that incorporates online co-creation and micro-manufacturing to design, engineer and build new products. The manufacturing space is available to Speed students also. Attached to First Build is the Engineering Garage which is specifically for Speed School and includes space for Student extra curricula projects.

The University has also acquired about 30 acres on the other side of the railroad tracks. Parkmoor Bowling Alley, which was built in 1941 and rebuilt after a devastating fire in 1960, which was a Speed School hangout between classes, was demolished for expanded U of L parking. Lum’s restaurant opened at the very end of our years at Speed School in late 1969 or early 1970. After Lum’s closed in the late 70’s, Lugo’s Pizza operated from 1980 until 1985, after which Speed School’s Engineering Graphics took over from 1985 until approximately 2010. The restaurant was demolished in 2013 and is a part of a much larger parcel slated for development as an engineering research park.

There have been a lot that has changed and when we have our Reunion in a couple of years we will set up tours of Campus for anyone that would like to attend. For those of you that would like to take a virtual tour of Belknap Campus there is interactive with Student narratives along the way, as well as 360 degree view user controlled options at various points by just clicking at the preceding link. You can also download a copy for review of a map of Belknap Campus at the link.

As an addendum, some of you may recall how often semitrailer trucks got stuck under the railroad bridge at 3rd and Eastern Parkway. According to Bob Ullrich it still happens quite often, sometimes as often as once a month.