You’ve probably been to a graduation or a going‑away party. But have you ever attended a farewell celebration for a building?
In winter 2019, the long-standing Faculty Office Building (FOB) will be demolished. For the past 35 years, it has been the home of the Economics Department, which will now be temporarily relocated to the Crabtree Technology Building.
On Oct. 19 from 5-6:30 p.m., the Economics Department will be hosting a free chili dinner for all current economics students, professors, alumni and emeritus. This commemoration party is as unique as the history of the building it celebrates.
The FOB’s Rich History
The FOB began in true Cougar fashion: at the stadium. Before housing faculty offices, the FOB was nothing more than the restrooms of the Cougar Stadium, which lay on the hill below. When the stadium was demolished in 1964, architects included the north and south stadium bathrooms in their FOB design, adding offices between them. Additionally, the old press box was used for research rooms until the early 2000s.
In 1970, the FOB was dedicated alongside the indoor tennis courts and new football stadium by Ezra Taft Benson. The new building housed Language Studies, Anthropology, Political Science, Sociology, Economics and more. Besides providing space for faculty, the FOB has been a place of research, hosting many labs over the years and contributing to BYU’s search for knowledge.
After decades of rich history, this building is stepping down to retirement. Although the FOB served more than only faculty, questions yet remain about similar buildings on other campuses. Senior writer of the Chronicle of Higher Education, Lawrence Biemiller questions the future of faculty office buildings. “Faculty offices are typically occupied… less than half the work week,” Biemiller says.
With faculty spending much of their time off campus and outside of their offices, will universities be willing to continue funding faculty buildings? Soon, it may be easier to spot a professor in a coffee shop than in an office.
As the university environment continues to change, we take a moment to look back into the past and commemorate the layered history of the Faculty Office Building. And of course, there is no better way to celebrate than with a chili dinner.