||St. Thomas Aquinas, 13th-century philosopher and patron of Catholic universities, colleges and schools
||Robert P. Moran '25 & Associates
||Community donations to the University Development Council
||144,432 sq ft
In 1960, the University announced plans to replace the old and unsafe Barracks buildings (B Building and E Building) with a new classroom building. Before construction could begin, however, mine tunnels under the site needed to be backfilled. Excavations underground showed that the building site was directly above the oldest mine in Scranton. A huge open cavern fifty feet below the surface was supported only by decaying tree trunks, which had been jammed into place to hold the slate ceiling in the 1840s. The cavern was "big enough to play baseball in," extending below the upper and lower dormitory quads. In order to stabilize the construction, columns of debris (13 feet in circumference) were piled up in the mine chamber, and the cavern was flushed with more than 18,000 cubic feet of concrete. The total cost of construction was approximately $1,400,000.
At the time of its completion in 1962, St. Thomas Hall contained 128 offices, 50 classrooms, 15 utility rooms, 11 equipment rooms, and 10 corridors. The L-shaped building offered modern conveniences, such as air conditioning, as well as laboratories for modern languages, accounting, education, and psychology. Another new feature was a "Ladies Student Lounge," designed to accommodate women students from the Evening and Graduate Schools. St. Thomas would also house the St. Ignatius of Loyola Chapel for many years.
The original cornerstone from Old Main, blessed by Bishop O'Hara in 1888, was built into the front corner of St. Thomas. When removed from Old Main, the cornerstone had included a copper box with six newspapers from the day of the dedication and seven silver coins. When the cornerstone was placed at St. Thomas, it included the original newspapers as well as letters from student body president Jack Kueny, Alumni Society president Atty. James A. Kelly, and alumnus and longtime administrator Frank O'Hara. Also included was a letter from architect Robert P. Moran '25, addressed to the architect of a building that replaced St. Thomas in the future.
In 1965, Linden Street outside of St. Thomas Hall was rerouted: instead of a curve at the corner of Monroe Ave, traffic onto campus was routed around an "island" in front of St. Thomas. In 1987, the Harper-McGinnis Wing, named in honor of physics professors Joseph P. Harper and Eugene A. McGinnis, was added to house offices and laboratories for physics, electrical engineering, and computing sciences.
St. Thomas Hall was significantly renovated in 2011-2012 as part of the construction of the Loyola Science Center. It currently houses the Theology and Religious Studies, Philosophy, History, and Communication departments, as well as the University radio station 99.5 WUSR.
"Classroom Bldg. Drive Plans Set
15 January 1960: 1.
"Long Closed Mine Is Explored," Scranton Times
4 August 1960: 1, 4.
"Drilling machines create confusion among classes
23 Sepember 1960: 2.
"St. Thomas Hall Becomes a Reality for the U. of S.
September 1962: 1.
"Old Main Cornerstone Transferred to Wall of St. Thomas Hall
September 1962: 8.
"12th Building in 7 Years Is Dedicated by U of S," Scranton Times
17 September 1962: 3, 17.
"75 Years Of University History
2 May 1963: 6.
"St. Thomas Hall
14 April 1972: 22.