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Adams State College

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1925. North side of U.S. 285, between Richardson and Pike aves.

State Senator William H. (“Billy”) Adams of Alamosa, who had only a grade school education, persuaded his fellow legislators to create the Adams State Normal School, which opened in 1925 to train teachers. The school built stucco Southwestern Style structures until after World War II, when, like schools across the country, it experienced tremendous expansion. Enrollment climbed from 349 in 1952 to 1,250 in 1960 to well over 3,000 by the 1990s. Since the 1950s the campus has acquired many flat-roofed, rectangular Modernist buildings of red sandstone, concrete, and glass, exemplified by the library (1973, Lamar Kelsey). One wing of the Student Union (1970s, Henry Koch) breaks out of its boxiness with a barrel-roofed ballroom that critics likened to a cow shed or potato cellar. Architects Bunts and Kelsey of Colorado Springs added Modernist structures of concrete and Lyons sandstone, including the Social Science and Education Building (1967).

Writing Credits

Thomas J. Noel

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