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Facilities / Parking

Centennial Hall was once a gathering place

May 26, 2009

Back in 1951 when CSU's Centennial Hall opened, it was called the Union Annex. At that time people said, 'What's buzzin, cuzzin?' instead of 'What's up?' - and if something was very popular, they called it 'radioactive.' In the Union Annex, young Aggies probably rocked out to B.B. King's 'Three O'Clock Blues' and wiled away the hours at the coke bar.

Changing to Centennial

It’s been said that change is inevitable – except from a vending machine!

One of the most recent changes at Colorado State University is a new name for the former Administration Annex. The 48-year-old building located north of the Student Services Building is now called Centennial Hall. 

Flash back to 1951

In 1951 when the building opened, the average cost of four years of college was $1,800, power steering and sugarless chewing gum were new products, CBS introduced color television, and ''What's my Line" was one of America's favorite TV shows. 

New Student Union Annex

At its inaugural opening in September of 1951, Centennial was called the Student Union Annex.  If you could take a peek back in time, you would no doubt see male students wearing traditional beanies and women dressed in calf-length skirts. 

The Union Annex had a dining room, coke bar, snack bar, pool and ping pong tables, a small ballroom with a stage and lounges, and offices for student organizations. The snack bar was open for sandwiches until 11 p.m., except on Sundays.

A few set-backs

The opening of the building was delayed due to a flood on Aug. 3, 1951, which left as much as five-and-a-half feet of water standing in buildings on the east end of campus.

The construction of the Union Annex was over-budget by $110,000, about $982,000 in today’s dollars. The Sept. 21, 1951 Collegian reported, “The finishing of the bowling alley has been postponed until an additional $25,000 has been raised…”

(At right: The Union Annex under construction early in 1951)

New name in early '60s

In the early 1960s, the Union Annex became the Administration Annex and the new home for the Office of Admissions and Records.

Centennial Hall...or Evergreen Hall?

Early in 2009, the University’s Physical Development Committee, which is charged with reviewing and making recommendations on proposals submitted to them concerning the renaming of facilities, considered two names for the Administration Annex: Centennial Hall and Evergreen Hall.

The name change to Centennial Hall became effective early in May. The university hopes that the change will alleviate confusion between the Administration and Administration Annex buildings. Centennial Hall is home to the Registrar’s Office and Student Financial Services


  • Colorado State University Main Campus: Ringing Grooves of Change, 1870 – 1973, James E. Hansen, II
  • Collegian, Fort Collins, Colo., Sept. 21, 1951

Thank you to the University Libraries' Archives and Special Collections for their help with this story.

Contact: Melinda Swenson
Phone: (970) 491-2463