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Buckman Hall

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Buckman Hall is part of the Murphree Area

Buckman Hall was dedicated to the memory of Henry H. Buckman, member of the Florida Legislature and author of the Buckman Act.

The Buckman Act consolidated all state institutions of higher learning into three state universities: the University of Florida (men), Florida State College for Women (now Florida State University), and Florida A&M University. The universities that were consolidated included: East Florida Seminary in Gainesville (formerly located in Ocala); Florida Agriculture College in Lake City; West Florida Seminary in Tallahassee;

DeFuniak State Normal School; Southern Florida Military Academy at Bartow; the St. Petersburg Normal and Industrial School; a normal school in Tallahassee; and an agricultural institute in Kissimmee. The consolidation occurred between 1901 and 1905. In 1906 the University of Florida was located in Gainesville. The 1853 date on the University of Florida seal reflects the founding of the East Florida Seminary.

Buckman and Thomas Halls were the first two buildings constructed on campus and were dedicated on September 27, 1906. The architectural firm that designed the buildings was Edwards and Walters from Atlanta, Georgia. The building contractor was W.T. Hadlow of Jacksonville. Both structures cost $75,250. The architectural design is considered to be gothic-tudor or collegiate gothic. Though each building was designed to be a residence hall, both buildings were used to house the entire operations of the university for a number of years. In addition to student housing, Buckman Hall contained an infirmary with six iron beds, gymnasium, and living quarters for a professor called the officer-in-charge. The rooms had hardwood floors and potbellied stoves. The University provided wood for students to burn in the stoves. In 1906, students paid $2.50 per month to live in Buckman and Thomas Halls.

The facility is divided into five sections and lettered A-E. At one time, President Andrew Sledd lived on the second and third floors of Buckman A. Prior to WWII, Buckman A was still being used for classrooms.

During renovations that occurred between 1940 and 1949 (some sources say the 1930s), the wood interior structures of Buckman and Thomas Halls were replaced by steel and concrete at a cost of between $37,000 and $54,000. In 1974, Buckman Hall was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The descriptive paragraph in the register adds this information:

1907, Edwards and Walters, architects. Brick, 3 1/2 stories, elongated central block with symmetrical wings, hipped roof with dormers and low crenulated wall, 6 projecting two-story bays, decorative stonework. Late Gothic and Jacobethan Revival elements. One of 2 extant original structures at University of Florida; reflects institutional architecture which became standard for university buildings in eastern U.S.

In the 1960s, Buckman Hall housed male graduate students exclusively including those studying law and medicine. Buckman Hall is part of the Murphree Area. Murphree Area was the last male residence area to be designated coed in 1972. Buckman Hall is presently coed by floor.

The electrical demands of today's students were draining the available power and causing circuit overloads and thrown breakers. In 2000, a four-year $2.5 million electrical service upgrade project was initiated in the Murphree Area that will provide a minimum of one 20 amp circuit per student when completed. The upgrade includes total rewiring of the facilities from transformers to each outlet and switch and a new 23,000 volt primary distribution switch. Prior to the upgrade, on average four to six residents were sharing a 15 amp service. Providing a minimum of one 20 amp circuit per student -- 40 amps per double room -- should prove to more than adequately address the present and future electrical needs of residents as most small apartments operate on 50 amp service.

In 2002, a $500,000 project was initiated to landscape the historic areas of campus including the Murphree Area Courtyard and the area fronting University Avenue. Students from the landscape architecture department were invited to submit input. A gift of $250,000 from UF alumni Herb and Catherine Yardley from Ft. Lauderdale was the catalyst for the project; the University matched the funds. The proposed design includes sidewalks, new landscaping plants and design, walls, seating areas, and other focal points.

Following the success of the student cooperative living program in Reid Hall, in Fall 1973, Buckman sections A and E became student cooperative living sections. In the summer of 1974, the remaining sections of Buckman Hall joined the cooperative living program and Buckman Hall became Buckman Co-op. In exchange for lower rental rates, students in the cooperative living facilities completed routine custodial and maintenance duties. Elected officers instead of Resident Assistants complete administrative duties. In 1986 under protest by most co-op residents, live-in Graduate Hall Directors were assigned to co-op facilities to assist in the management of facilities, to schedule educational programs, to advise co-op student groups, and to monitor discipline-related activities. Due to lack of interest by students to live in co-op style housing, Buckman reverted to a standard residence hall in fall 2003 marking the end of the cooperative living special housing option on the UF campus.

From A History of UF Residence Halls (Revised 2nd Edition)