UTEP gems shine bright on campus

Ashley Muñoz, Contributor

  1. Old Main Building

    The building was constructed in 1917 and was part of the first five original buildings when UTEP was first taking shape. The building (still standing today on Circle Drive) housed a small library and snack bar until 1920. Old Main was honored as an official historical building by the Texas Historical Commission.

    It served as a museum in the 1930s, which was held in the basement until the Centennial Museum opened its doors in 1937. Students and faculty would gather out in the front of the steps to socialize, the building also held large events.

    As the first to be built, Old Main is the originator for the Bhutanese architectural theme. The name “Main” derived from the designation of the building until it was changed to the Math and Physics Building in 1950. It was not until 1967, that the name changed once more to its current title.

    Old Main was closed off for a $2-million renovation, which was donated by the Texas Historical Commission to help renovate the exterior of the building. The renovation helped add more windows to the first floor as well as update the interior to be more contemporary and bright.

  2. Chihuahuan Desert Garden

    The garden is located behind the UTEP Centennial Museum, featuring over 600 species of native plants. 

    This garden was developed in 1999 to demonstrate the use of the native plants in landscaping, to show their beauty and water conservation. The garden also provides a resource for informal and environmental education. 

    The garden is dedicated to the flora of the Chihuahuan Desert and nearby regions in the United States and Mexico. It consists of a number of adjacent gardens that are designed to show the beauty of the native desert for landscaping, as well as show certain landscaping techniques that can conserve water in this region.

     

  3. Geological Sciences Building

    The building first served as a library. It was originally built in 1955 with the Bhutanese style with the insert windows and sloped walls, but it still was missing the brick friezes and mosaic designs.

    Over the next three years, the building was remodeled to accommodate more books and collections. On September of 1968, a new building was planned and built, thus transferring the books to the new library and gave the original building the name, the Old Library. After its remodeling in 1990, the building was renamed the Geological Sciences Building and currently holds the geology department today. During the renovation, however, the original library was left untouched, where it still stands today.

  4. Fox Fine Arts Center

    The Fox Fine Arts Center contains soundproof practice rooms, band rehearsal rooms and space for art studios. The building does not contain a designated front or back, allowing the students to walk freely and enjoy the garden in the center. The building was originally called the Fine Arts Complex, but in September 1978, the building was renamed after Josephine Clardy Fox. She left a contribution of about $3 million in cash, jewels and art to the university before the time of her death. In December of 1971, the College of Liberal Arts was established, and required a building for the high demand of fine arts degrees. The building officially opened on October of 1974, after delays from construction due to strikes and construction problems.

     

  5. The Rubin Center Cave

    Among the Franklin Mountains, where the Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center stands, there sits a cave nearby that was once part of UTEP’s history. Passing students who wonder about the gaping hole should know that it was once known as The Practice Mine. In the early 1900s, at the beginning of UTEP’s growth, the cave, which extends into a tunnel of 40 feet, was used to help students practice their mining skills. Students used dynamite to blast through the walls of the Franklin Mountains. The Practice Mine continued to inspire those with the passion for mining until it was shut down April 1925. Today, the cave inspires mystery, all while adapting to its new title of The Kissing Cave. The mysterious cave by the Sun Bowl echoes the voices of the university’s past, and as you walk by, you might hear the sounds of UTEP’s golden day’s blast in your ears.

    Ashley Muñoz may be reached at [email protected]