When the original, now-demolished Venable Hall opened its doors in the 1920s, a guest speaker described it as modern and palatial.
Dedicating its replacement on University Day, Chancellor Holden Thorp noted how the previous building’s glory had faded over the years.
“Those of us who studied and worked in Venable Hall might have used other words,” he said. “In fact, I once described it as the poster child for our decaying facilities in Chapel Hill.”
Thorp spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for both Venable and Murray Halls, which opened this semester in the second phase of the Carolina Physical Science Complex, the largest construction project in the University’s history.
The two new halls house the William R. Kenan Jr. Chemistry Library along with department of chemistry classrooms, lecture halls, conference rooms and the department of marine sciences.
They join Max C. Chapman Jr. Hall, the W. Lowry and Susan S. Caudill Laboratories and the Frederick P. Brooks Jr. Computer Science Building as part of the $250 million complex.
By bringing faculty and students together in high-tech laboratories and classrooms, the complex is designed with an eye for functionality and a means to enhance Carolina’s longtime strengths in collaboration and interdisciplinary inquiry by pushing units beyond their traditional silos.