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Burnett Hall

Vital Statistics






Olson Construction Co.



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No building had a longer gestation and construction than Burnett Hall. Originally planned as a companion building to Andrews Hall, which was completed in 1928, its construction was delayed for nearly 20 years due to the advent of the Great Depression, quickly followed by WWII.

The site for Burnett Hall was identified in the 1926 Seymour Plan, a campus plan developed by Regent George Seymour with an eye toward developing a unified and architecturally cohesive campus. Generous funding in 1925 and 1927 allowed the University to develop the campus according to the Seymour plan with the construction of Morrill Hall, Andrews Hall, the Stadium and Coliseum, and the purchase of property to complete the Memorial Mall east of the Stadium. In 1928 Chancellor Burnett and the Regents requested construction funds for the Womens Residence Hall on 16th street, which was appropriated, and funds for a new Engineering building, which was not. It was Burnett's intention to seek funding for a general classroom building in the not too distant future.

By the 1930s, the University was broke. In 1933, faculty salaries were reduced 22%, the School of Fine Arts was eliminated, positions were left unfilled, and wards at the University Hospital in Omaha were closed. Building on the Lincoln campus ground to a halt after the dormitories were built in 1931. With the advent of the Great Depression no new buildings were constructed on the city campus for ten years, with the Student Union being the only exception, and it was financed by student fees and Public Works Administration funds.

Burnett retired in 1938, having held the University together during the dismal depression years. World War II proved to be almost as detrimental to University growth as the depression had. After the war, with the great onslaught of GIs returning to college, it became imperative to get the general classroom building funded.

In 1946, the Regents were able to secure legislative funding for a general classroom building, and immediately voted to name the building Burnett Hall in honor of the former Chancellor.

Davis & Wilson, still functioning as the favorite architects of the Board of Regents, designed Burnett Hall to very nearly match the south façade of Andrews Hall. Construction was hampered by steel and brick shortages following the war. It seemed that everyone wanted to build something new. Finally, in 1948, Burnett Hall was opened for classes.

Source Information:
U on N Bd. of Regents minutes, 1946-1947. Neb. Alumnus, 1930.