Parcells Hall, located on Amarillo College’s Washington Street Campus, was named for one of AC’s regents, Dr. R.P. Parcells.
Parcells joined the AC board on March 7, 1931. He held a board position for 17 years, one of the longest tenures of any member.
John Fremont Mead, then president of the board of regents, praised Parcells as a visionary whose pioneer spirit helped rally the college’s support during the difficult days of the Depression and helped keep AC alive and going strong.
The original Parcells Hall stood where the College Union Building stands today. It was built in 1941 for vocational education with an emphasis on mechanical aeronautics. At the time, AC was one of only eight schools in the state that was selected to offer this training.
At the end of April that same year, the new building was ready for occupancy and on May 9, 1941, the board formally accepted it. That building stood for 27 years. During the spring semester of 1968, it was torn down to make room for the new Student Union Building (now the CUB) and Lynn Library.
That year was a busy time for construction. As the old Parcells Hall was being torn down, a new facility called the business and technology building was being completed.
“The new building was actually built on the site of the old AC baseball field,” said Bruce Cotgreave, physical plant director.
That new facility enabled the business department to increase its space by more than 300 percent and to increase the business curriculum and number of courses. It wasn’t until the fall semester of 1968 that the technology wing of the building was renamed and dedicated to the late Dr. R.P. Parcells.
As times have changed, so have the needs of students. In support of the Amarillo Campus Master Plan, a 2010 renovation began on Parcells Hall. It was the first remodel of the building since it was built 42 years before.
The renovation realigned several programs for better functionality for the mass communication, speech, modern languages, photography, drafting and interior design departments. The goal of the renovation of Parcells Hall was to update classrooms and labs, create better adjacencies among related spaces, and improve overall function of the building.
When the Parcells renovation was completed, the same process started for the business building, which had been renamed the Byrd Business Building. Currently, construction is ongoing on the first floors of Parcells and Byrd, which had been open-air spaces. Cotgreave said the last of the renovation will be completed by summer 2013.
“I have watched the whole renovation of this building since I was in middle school,” said Brandi Brown, a speech pathology major. “It has been really cool to see the changes.”
Brown said she enjoys the common areas on the third and fourth floors as nice places to meet with friends between classes.
Eric Vanmarter, a photography major, said, “I really like the fourth floor common area but wish we had more sitting areas on the third and second floors for students to gather in between classes or when a class needs to break out and do some creative brainstorming.”
AC and its buildings have a long and interesting history. Walking through the buildings, one can only imagine all the students who have passed through the halls and all the students still to come.