The first College of Education building was planned with the assistance of a $10,000 grant from the Ford Foundation. Dr. Margaret Crickenberger, Professor Emeritus of the College of Education, remembers that many Friday afternoon faculty meetings were held at a local motel to plan the development and construction of the new building. The College secured funds that enabled Dr. Bob Shannon, Associate Dean of the College of Education, to travel throughout the United States to gather ideas for the design of the building. One idea came from Dr. Shannon’s visit to an ancient Native American dwelling in New Mexico where he encountered circular rooms called kivas. A kiva is defined as the center of the dwelling in which religious gatherings are held. This interior circular concept became a central theme in the design of the new building. When the College of Education building was completed, a room was constructed and named after the kiva concept on the third floor of the structure.
The new building was completed in January 1968. It had the appearance of being square from the outside, but the rooms in the center of the building were circular on each of the three floors. The first floor featured a Media Lab, which was an audio-visual laboratory, with learning and viewing enclosures for 113 students. Students could watch videos of taped lectures and students practicing their teaching techniques (see photographs). The Media Lab Center later added the capability to send upon request films and videotapes closed-circuit broadcasts to classrooms within the College of Education and to the Physical Education buildings. The Media Lab Center was moved to the USF Library in 1984.
The first floor of the College of Education also hosted the Instructional Materials Center that housed a collection of special education materials that was provided from the Southeastern Materials Center Federal Grant Project, as well as other new educational materials and College of Education administrative offices.
The second floor of the building had a large circular teaching area in the center that could be divided into smaller pie-shaped classrooms by means of sliding partitions. The surface of the partitions served as chalkboards. Faculty members were challenged to re-arrange the tables and chairs and teach in “different ways” in the pie-shaped classrooms. Hallways were purposefully wide, with ample seating in order to encourage student gatherings and exchange between classes.
The third floor showcased the Kiva room, which was a three-tier circular room that accommodated up to 250 students. In addition to holding large classes, it became a gathering place for College of Education faculty meetings as well as USF Faculty Senate meetings. Student Academic Services and faculty offices lined the outer wall of the third floor, making it easier for students to access advisors and their professors.
While the construction of the College of Education building was a major achievement, the premises still could not accommodate the needs of faculty, staff, and students. The departments of Social and Psychological Foundations, Educational Measurement and Research, Adult and Vocational Education, and Educational Leadership, remained housed in the Faculty Office Building. Special Education was located in the Human Services Building. The Department of Professional Physical Education moved into its new building in 1967.
In 1996, the College of Education building was went under a major renovation and added a new building to the premises that would accommodate the increasing need for new space and accommodations for technology that would increase the quality of programming and services provided to USF students and the surrounding community.