A-Z Index

Fire and Growth

Disaster struck in 1979 when a fire ravages the Administration Building.The Deerwester Theater in the Administration Building along with other areas of the building were destroyed by the fire.The KXCV Radio station, which was located in the Administration Building, was severely damaged during the 1979 fire.  The radio station would later be rebuilt in Wells Hall.The Administration Building was rebuilt following the fire, although the radio station and several other offices such as the Network Server department were  permanently moved to different buildings on campus.The Administration Building, a symbol of the campus for decades, was rebuilt and remodeled with one big omission.  The Deerwester Theater was not rebuilt.Construction on the new university library began in 1980.  Wells Library was turned into Wells Hall, which is used by the Mass Communication department to this day.The new library was named in honor of Northwest President B.D. Owens.  A plaque honoring him and his wife hangs outside the building.Northwest President Dean Hubbard, Missouri Governor John Ashcroft and President of the Maryville Chamber of Commerce, Kay Wilson, ceremonially switch on the Electronic Campus on August 18, 1987.  Northwest became the first "electronic campus" in the nation.Northwest's Electronic Campus Program, the brainchild of Dr. Jon Rickman, provided networked computing stations (terminals) in every residence hall room, faculty office and administrative office.  Later, the terminals would be replaced with networked MTECH Computers with standardized University software, which included a Windows operating system and Office Professional.By 2008, full-time undergraduate and graduate students living on or off campus were provided with wireless-ready notebook computers as part of Northwest's innovative Campus Notebooks Program. By 2009, both part-time and full-time undergraduate and graduate students received a campus-owned wireless-ready notebook computer.

Northwest became a university in 1972, reflecting the vibrant growth and tremendous change the school had undergone since World War II. But the 1970s saw decreased enrollment and a devastating fire in 1979 that severely damaged a campus icon, the Administration Building. The aftermath of the fire could have crippled and even crushed Northwest, but instead like the legendary Phoenix, Northwest rose from the ashes to soar into a new millennium with a commitment to quality, increased enrollment, a winning football team, an innovative notebook computer program and unstoppable optimism.