A Snapshot of Dormitory History

By on July 3, 2012

Boy’s Dormitory (Graham Hall)-One of the original five buildings on campus

The first dormitory for men opened at the School of Mines and Metallurgy (now UTEP) in 1917 and the women’s dorm opened in 1919. In 1920 the men’s dormitory was named Burges Hall the women’s dormitory was named Kelly Hall. Burges Hall continued as the men’s residency facility until 1933; Kelly Hall maintained the women’s facility until 1926. Another residency hall did not open until 1936. Burges Hall was renamed to its current name, Graham Hall in 1972.  Kelly Hall was renamed Vowell Hall in 1987.

In 1936 two new men and women residency halls opened which would later be named Worrell Hall and Benedict Hall. Both of these dormitories offered residents’ lounges, a radio, and room to dance. In 1936 the College of Mines and Metallurgy instituted the parietal rule requiring all out-of-town residents to live on-campus. For several years this rule afforded many students living outside of El Paso the opportunity to attend college. This rule also drove the need to construct more dormitories as the growth of out-of-town students increased. In 1947 Bell Hall, a women’s residential hall, and Hudspeth Hall, a male dormitory were constructed. In 1950 Miners Hall opened to house the male athlete residents. In 1963 the new men’s dormitory, Burges Hall opened; bringing the totals to four dormitory facilities for male students and two for women.

In 1972 the residential options on-campus changed. Two sky-rise dormitory facilities with the ability to house about 350 students each were opened. Barry Hall housed the male students and the new Kelly Hall housed the female students. Many of the old dorms were repurposed as offices and classrooms, leaving Barry Hall and Kelly Hall the only residential facilities for out-of-town students; Burges Hall housed the male athletes. Living on-campus was no longer as appealing or as necessary as it was in 1936. In fact, enrollment of out-of-town students dropped considerably leaving the new dorms well below capacity. In 1973 the university revoked the parietal rule, turned the dormitories into co-educational facilities, and renovated the interior of Kelly Hall and Barry Hall to be more appealing to students. In 1977 both dorms had reached capacity. The two buildings would continue to house students until 2001 when Miner Village opened. In 2010 Miner Heights opened in order to accommodate an additional 200 students. Both Miner Village and Miner Heights offer on-campus living in state-of-the-art apartment-like dorm rooms.


Student activity at Miner Villiage


[ Sources: Heritage House Flowsheet collection; KTSM News, UTEP Unveils State-of-the-Art Dorms, July 28, 2010; Undergraduate Catalog Archive, http://academics.utep.edu/Default.aspx?PageContentMode=1&tabid=92839; UTEP collection in Special Collections at Library.]

Ashley Swarthout was a student in the Masters of Arts in Teaching English program at UTEP. She graduated in May 2013 and is now teaches dual credit at Chapin High School.