The History of Tech Hall

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Tech Hall in its former days, as portrayed in this sketch by Zach Garretson that highlights the sandstone features of the building. photo courtesy of Terry Steiner

Tech Hall in its
former days, as portrayed in this sketch by Zach Garretson that highlights the sandstone features of the building.
photo courtesy of Terry Steiner

By: Kobi Hudson –

Tech Hall here at Rocky Mountain College is a massive building with a massive amount of history. The original Tech Hall dates back to 1908. It was used as a heating plant to heat the otheroriginal buildings on campus, according to research done in 2007 by Terry Steiner, director of facility services at Rocky, Wayne Gustafson, an architect, and Catherine Hoselton, director of grants at Rocky at the time. Steiner, Gustafson and Hoselton built a team of seven to help a research initiative for a Getty Foundation grant to record RMC campus heritage.

“It was a single level building,” said Terry Steiner. If you go outside and look at the southern wall of the building, you can see a line with stone below that looks older than the stone above. That older looking stone was the top of the original Tech Hall.

The building has had many names throughout its history, such as the Machinery Building, the Manual Arts Building and the Engineering Building. Along with the many names, it had several different purposes, such as the heating plant, offices and labs. Its current use is to house the art, computer science and facility services departments.

“It’s actually four additions,” Steiner said. On the inside of the building there are two stone walls painted white. These white walls were originally outside walls.

“Tech Hall is kind of like a mish-mash of a bunch of different buildings put together because of all the different expansions. It has some very cool history,” said computer science major Tucker Downs (‘16).

Tech Hall is one of the oldest buildings on campus. After it opened as the heating plant, machine shops were added. Then the engineering classrooms and office space were layered on. The upper floor was finished after the engineering classrooms and office space. The north wing was added next. The building then enclosed a courtyard that was the center of the building. The courtyard was
then covered to make the middle section seen today, now the Rynker-Morrison Gallery, home of art exhibitions, and a shorter section of the building that can be seen from the west side of Tech Hall.

The foundation of Technology Hall is full-height sandstone or concrete with sandstone above it. The land around the building was originally all below the basement window sill and below the top of the concrete foundation. The entire earth level was raised around the building and ended above the concrete foundation.

On the exterior, the building is entirely made of sandstone walls from foundation to roof. This sandstone is eroding because the Rimrocks’ sandstone is really just compacted beach sand left over from the Cretaceous period. On the southeast side of the building, strong evidence of the erosion is evident. You can see that several inches of sandstone are missing from the building.

The windows in Tech Hall are mostly the original wood installed when it was built. The original windows did use rope pulleys and those have since been replaced. The entry doors are the original pair of entry doors from 1921.

Dormers on the roof protect the top floor’s windows. The dormers also show the different additions to the building. The different style in dormers show the different times of the additions.

At one point the entire building only had one bathroom, found on the left just before entering Room 14. Since the installation of two new bathrooms, the old one has been turned into a janitorial closet.

Tech Hall as it is present day. Though there have been countless remodels to modernize the building, the exterior is still recognizable from its original conception. photo courtesy of Kobi Hudson

Tech Hall as it is present day. Though there have been countless remodels to modernize the building, the exterior is still recognizable from its original conception.
photo courtesy of Kobi Hudson

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