Bartoo Hall: From Dormitory to Learning Center

by Jennifer Dewar

West Hall as pictured in Tech’s 1926 Eagle yearbook

From 1989 until 2023, Bartoo Hall contained the offices and classrooms of the Learning Resource Center, the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Support Services, and computer labs. Called simply West Hall initially, Bartoo Hall was built in 1916 as one of the three main structures comprising Dixie College and kept its name through the establishment of Tennessee Polytechnic Institute (TPI). 

West Hall, was the northernmost building on the west side of the main quad and originally functioned as a men’s dormitory. It was remodeled and redecorated in 1943 and became a women’s dormitory in 1944.

Students Going to Dining Hall on the basement floor, 1923

In 1955, West Hall underwent a major reconstruction of its 12,000 square feet in order to house the biology and physics departments with offices, classrooms, and laboratories.  The interior was completely redone with a steel and concrete interior added for fireproofing.  West Hall now contained two lecture rooms, one large general laboratory, three specialized laboratories, and facilities for bacteriology studies.  A seminar and library room were also added, an intercom system was installed, and the halls were highlighted with specimen display cabinets.  This reconstruction was completed in the spring of 1956. The building was waterproofed, its mortar completely replaced, and the new front and side entrances were built in 1959. 

It had been known that the name of the building would be changed since 1955, but that did come about until October 12, 1962, when it was posthumously dedicated to Dr. Bartoo (1888-1943). Dr. Bartoo was Tech’s first Ph.D. hire and head of the Biology Department from 1929 to 1943. 

“Grand Opening…Finally!” A celebration of women’s restroom construction completion in Bartoo Hall in 1983.
Bartoo Hall. Photo Services. June 10, 2022

Bartoo Hall continued to be used by the Department of Biology until the winter of 1967 and was renovated in the summer of 1968 to accommodate the Athletics Department, the Department of Secondary Education, and the Department of Sociology and Philosophy. In 1971, Bartoo Hall contained College of Education offices and classrooms and the Learning Resources Center (LRC).  

Modern upgrades and accessibility and safety features were gradually added to the building in the late 20th century. In the early 1970s, Bartoo Hall had a heating/air conditioning system installed and a sidewalk was put in place connecting it to the Industrial Technology Building (later Lewis Hall). In the 1980s, a computer lab was added, the steps and sidewalks in front were replaced, and fiber optic cables were run for local area network access.  In the 1990s, an outside 911 phone was attached to the building and an elevator was installed.

By 1976, Bartoo Hall contained the Learning Resource Center (LRC), Student Teaching, and the Department of Administration, Supervision and Curriculum. Bartoo Hall was submitted for review to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places but was disqualified due to its remodeling. As of 2023, Bartoo Hall housed the LRC, the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Support Services and computer labs.


“Current Campus Construction,” Capital Projects and Planning,

The Bulletin, Tennessee Polytechnic Institute, 1943-1944, 17.

The Bulletin, Tennessee Polytechnic Institute, 1944-1945, 17.

The Bulletin, Tennessee Technological University, 1968-1969, 46.

The Bulletin, Tennessee Technological University, 1971-72, p. 52.

The Bulletin, Tennessee Technological University, 1976-77, 27.

The Bulletin, Tennessee Technological University, 1989, 18.

The Bulletin, Tennessee Technological University, 2022-23, 7.

The Oracle, October 1, 1955, 3.

The Oracle, April 2, 1956, 4.

The Oracle, October 2, 1959, 1.

The Oracle, November 1, 1968, 5.

The Oracle, November 3, 1972, 8.

The Oracle, October 11, 1985, 1.

The Oracle, October 24, 1986, 4.

The Oracle, May 20, 1988, 5.

The Oracle, April 10, 1992, 2.

The Oracle, October 29, 1993, 9.

The Oracle, September 11, 1998, 7.

Practical Work, 100 Years of Dixie College & Tennessee Tech History, 13.

“Recently Completed Construction Projects,” Capital Projects and Planning,

“Restroom finally finished in Bartoo Hall and Campus Scenes,” RG 112 Photo Services photographs, Box 125, Folder 40, May 17, 1983.

“Students Going to Dinner in Bartoo Hall,” RG 9 Records of the President, Box 40, Folder 29, 1923.

Tech Times, May 27, 1983, 4.

About University Archives

Archives and Special Collections resides in Angelo and Jennette Volpe Library on the first floor. The collection includes materials of legal, fiscal and historical significance to Tennessee Tech University and documents the history of the Upper Cumberland Region. The collection includes over 2,500 cubic feet of manuscripts, photographs, and archives from Tennessee Tech as well as surrounding people, businesses, and organizations of the Upper Cumberland. The collection contains books on the history and culture of the Upper Cumberland Region of Tennessee.
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