Hinkhouse Center

1971 - Present

The plans for Hinkhouse Center went through many changes between 1965 and 1971. Born as a dormitory in the 1965 Cottey Building Program, Hinkhouse ended up being built in 1971 for Cottey's athletic facilities and infirmary. The building was named for Uretta Hinkhouse, past President of the Supreme Chapter of the P.E.O., and her husband Paul, who bequeathed a third of their estate to Cottey College.7 Soon after it was built, Hinkhouse's plans were changed again to accommodate Cottey's student union. Today Hinkhouse holds the Student Life Center, swimming pool, gymnasium, dance studios, exercise room, dressing rooms, faculty offices, student lounge, and Chellie Club.

Hinkhouse Hall & the 1960s Building Program

In 1963, the Cottey College Board of Trustees began preparing a long-term building plan for the school.5 Included in the outline was a new dormitory called "Hinkhouse Hall," which would house 150 students and an infirmary. The proposal also called for a student union facility and an addition to Neale Hall for a larger pool and more gym space. The plan was approved by the Supreme Chapter of the P.E.O. in October 1965, and architects immediately began developing sketches. Renditions of these appeared in Cottey's 1966 campus map, situated west of P.E.O. Hall.

Hinkhouse Hall and Cottey Union, 1966
The proposed Hinkhouse Hall (left) and Cottey Student Union, 1966. Note the addition to Neale Hall. Click for full map.
Hinkhouse floor plan, c. 1968
Hinkhouse floor plans, c. 1968.6
Site of Hinkhouse Center, 1969
Site of Hinkhouse Center on Cottey campus map, 1969.8 Click for full map. Note the separate Student Center site.

The building plan was designed for an increase in enrollment to 500 students, but this soon became unfeasable.5 Increasing the class size would add significantly to available funds ― money that could be used to strengthen the college's academic program. However, by the time architects began working on the building plans, construction costs were rising and interest rates skyrocketed. In May of 1966 the Board decided to decrease Hinkhouse Hall's size to 100 students, partly due to the number of competing junior and community colleges that were to be built across the country. Even with this reduction, the Supreme Chapter decided to postpone the building program unless a government loan could be granted. While Cottey had applied for a college housing loan in 1965, it became apparent by the following year that the Department of Housing and Urban Development would not have sufficient money to fund all applicants.

Due to the uncertain loan situation, the increase in number of junior colleges, the rising costs of construction, and the leveling off in freshmen enrollment, the Board of Trustees decided to completely reexamine the building plan.5 Increasing Cottey's size to 500 students was postponed, and Hinkhouse Hall was nixed. The facilities most needed at Cottey were a student union, an infirmary, and a new swimming pool. Building an addition onto the backside of Neale Hall was still possible, but Neale was one of the oldest buildings on campus. After careful study, the Board decided that it made more sense to construct a whole new building for "health, physical education and recreation."5 Strangely, this new building was not yet coined "Hinkhouse" ― that was being reserved for Cottey's student union, the "Hinkhouse Student Center."10 This new athletic building would not be called "Hinkhouse Center" until after the architects finalized plans for it in 1968.9

Hinkhouse sketch, c. 1968
Sketch of Hinkhouse, c. 1968.7
Hinkhouse Center, 1970s
Hinkhouse Center, c. 1971.

Hinkhouse Center: Bowling Alleys and a Sun Deck

In 1968, the architectural firm of Linscott-McArthur and Associates prepared the final plans for the new health and physical fitness building.9 A new site had been chosen south of Reeves Hall, next to the newly graded and seeded playing fields. The new center was designed in a Colonial style like the rest of Cottey campus, with a two-story portico entrance outlined in four Roman Doric columns.6

On the first floor would be the main gym, an auxiliary gym, faculty offices, a classroom, service areas, and an Olympic-sized swimming pool.9 A sun deck would sit on the roof above the pool, so students could sunbathe in privacy. In the basement would be a dance studio, locker rooms, a classroom, and space to fit four bowling alleys ― to be installed at a later date. On the second floor would be the Health Center, with exam rooms, two general wards, an isolation ward, staff offices, and a small apartment for the resident Director of Health. Cottey was still planning to build a student union west of P.E.O. Hall, so there were no social facilities (like Chellie Club) planned for Hinkhouse.8

It was hoped that the building could be completed by September of 1969, but this proved impossible. The contract was awarded in July of 1968 to George E. Baumann Construction Company, for a total cost of $875,848.49.6 (Baumann had also built Ross Memorial Library and Robertson Hall.) By October, the City of Nevada had given Cottey the two blocks of Arch Street between Hinkhouse and the rest of campus. Construction was well under way by the summer of '69, but projected completion was pushed back a month. However, Hinkhouse ended up needing more than an extra month, and was not completed until 1971.

Hinkhouse bowling alleys, c. 1968
Excerpt from the Hinkhouse basement floor plan, including space for bowling alleys and an "Unassigned" space which would later house Chellie Club, c. 1968.6 Click for full floor plan.
Cottey Student Center site, 1969
Site of Student Center on Cottey campus map, 1969.8 It was never built. Click for full map.

Adding a Student Union

The college realized late in the planning of Hinkhouse Center that they couldn't afford to build a separate student union. Instead, they decided to place a social center in Hinkhouse's basement. What the Board of Trustees had hoped to accomplish in three buildings was now crammed into one. This decision came at the expense of the bowling alleys ― they were never installed. The space was instead devoted to offices and the Cottey bookstore, which had been housed in the basement of Reeves Hall.2 When the bookstore was moved to the basement of Main Hall following Main's 1980 renovation, its former home in Hinkhouse became the exercise room.

Hinkhouse Alumnae Student Lounge, 1972
The Alumnae Student Lounge, 1972.2
Student lounge, 2005
What was supposed to be a dance studio is now a student lounge, 2005. The door to the classroom/TV room can be seen at center.
Cottey bookstore, 1972
The Cottey Bookstore in Hinkhouse, 1972.2 Note the Snoopy figurines.

The Alumnae Student Lounge & Dance Studio

The Alumnae Student Lounge was funded by the Cottey Alumnae Association.2 It was "paneled in birch and furnished in Country French style furniture which includes three sofas, three occasional chairs and three rockers, some of which are upholstered in brown and gold plaid and others in gold tweed. The lounge furnishings also include two oak game tables, each with four matching chairs upholstered in black leather."2 During these early years of Hinkhouse, the student lounge and adjoining dance studio were used for dancing during the Christmas formal, with Chellie Club providing refreshments. Today the lounge contains couches, chairs, and a big-screen T.V. This area is still used for sampling hors d'oeuvres before Hanging of the Greens dinner each December.

In subsequent years, Cottey's dance program proved too much for its single basement studio, and the decision was made to turn the first-floor auxiliary gym into two new studios.

Hinkhouse dance studio, 1972
Cottey students practice ballet in Hinkhouse's original dance studio, 1972.2
  Hinkhouse dance studio, 2005
One of Hinkhouse's two dance studios (remodeled out of the auxiliary gym), 2005.

Chellie Club

The formerly "unassigned" area of the 1968 floor plan was molded into the Chellie Club in 1971. (Chellie was originally housed in the basement of Reeves Hall, and was likely named after Chellie Stevens Wright, past President of the Supreme Chapter of the P.E.O.) Chellie Club was Cottey's "snack bar" in the '70s, originally styled in true '70s fashion, with "multicolor vinyl wallcovering in stripes of white, orange and pink. The leather upholstered booths and chairs [were] in shades of orange, lemon yellow and hot pink with table tops of lemon yellow."2 These furnishings were funded by a donation from the Pennsylvania State Chapter of the P.E.O. in memory of Miriam H. Streeter. Today Chellie is more reminiscent of a coffee shop. One can buy various coffee and specialty drinks, as well as a limited assortment of food. Chellie's walls are painted to look like decaying brickwork ― likely a product of an early-'90s redecoration. The most enchanting aspect of Chellie lies beneath the glass tabletops of the booths, where collages of old Cottey photos have been carefully placed.

Chellie Club, 1972
Chellie Club, 1972.2 Foreground: Prof. Calvin Thomas and James Lundy, business manager.
Chellie Club snack bar, 1972
Chellie Club snack bar, 1972.2 L-R: Marsha Gladrow, Patricia Barnes, Patricia Duncan.
Chellie Club, 2005
Chellie Club, 2005.

Addition of "Suite Life" Statues

The iconic bronze sculptures in front of Hinkhouse Center were installed and dedicated during Founder's Weekend in 2000.4 The statues were created by Sandra West Van Zandt, class of 1968, and donated by Lois Watson Lee, class of 1944. The piece is titled "Suite Life" and features Cottey students hanging out, talking and reading. One of the figures peruses a copy of The Cottey Sisters of Missouri by Elizabeth McClure-Campbell.

The Future of Hinkhouse

Cottey's 2027 Master Plan proposes that Hinkhouse be enlarged with a 5,000 square foot addition, to modernize the center's athletic facilities and move classroom and recreational spaces out of the basement.1 The 20-year plan also calls for a proper student union to be built, recommending a 25,000 square foot facility be placed near Hinkhouse. Most of Cottey's basement locales will be moved to the new union, including Raney Dining Room, the Cottey Bookstore, and Chellie Club. Since these social areas are rather randomly dispersed throughout the campus, moving them to a central location would be an improvement.

More Photos

Hinkhouse statues, 2005
The statues in front of Hinkhouse, all dressed for winter, 2005.
Hinkhouse on a rainy day, 2004
Hinkhouse on a rainy day, 2004.
Hinkhouse in winter, 2005
Hinkhouse at sunset, 2005. 
Gym during the faculty-student volleyball tournament, 2006
Hinkhouse gym during the faculty-student volleyball tournament, 2006.
Chellie Stevens Wright, c. 1937
Chellie Stevens Wright, c. 1937.
Hinkhouse basement, 2005
Hinkhouse basement, 2005. A closed Chellie Club is at left.

Works Cited:

  1. "Building a Model for Women's Education: Case for Support." Cottey College, May 2008. Web.
  2. "Cottey Student Union Complex." The P.E.O. Record. Mar. 1972: 6-7. Print.
  3. "P.E.O. Leaders To Arrive In Carbondale For Convention." Southern Illinoisan Family Living. Carbondale, IL. 11 June 1961. Ancestry.com. Web.
  4. Reed, Steve. "Two Alumnae Commemorate Suite Life." The P.E.O. Record. Print.
  5. Bail, Dr. Milo. "Cottey's Long Range Building Program." The P.E.O. Record. Jan. 1967: 16-17. Print.
  6. "Hinkhouse Center Being Built at Cottey College." The P.E.O. Record. Oct. 1968: 2-3. Print.
  7. Watson, Virginia. "Cottey Builds." The P.E.O. Record. July 1969: 2-3. Print.
  8. "Miss Cottey Started Her School in 1884." The P.E.O. Record. Mar. 1969: 17-24. Print.
  9. "Cottey Comments: Building Plans Move Forward." The P.E.O. Record. Apr. 1968: 5. Print.
  10. "Cottey Comments: The Cottey Development Program." The P.E.O. Record. Mar. 1968: 7. Print.

Last updated 21 June 2012.

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