The Home Economics Building, which now houses the School of Human Environmental Sciences, was completed in early 1940.
Two buildings had been completed in 1935–Vol Walker Library and the Chemistry Building–using loans and grants from the federal government’s Public Works Administration (PWA). When construction started on December 28, 1938, the Home Economics Building was one of three more buildings funded by the PWA with a loan of $413,000 and a grant of $337,909 from the federal government. The other two buildings were the Student Union (now known as Memorial Hall) and the Classroom Building (the first phase of what is now Ozark Hall).
The Manhattan Construction Co. of Muskogee, Okla., was the general contractor for the Student Union and Home Economics buildings at a bid of $405,600. Mechanical and electrical contracts added another $73,280. The architects for these two buildings were Haralson & Mott of Fort Smith and Mann & Wanger of Little Rock.
The Home Economics Building is a stone masonry edifice of Indiana white limestone and ashlar of Batesville limestone. It is two stories, plus basement. The building is of Collegiate Gothic architectural design, matching its companion structure to the east, the Agriculture Building. Previously, tennis courts were located where this building now stands.
The Home Economics Building was first occupied during final examination week in January 1940 when the department moved its offices, classrooms, and laboratories out of the old Home Economics Building–the first agriculture building (now the Agriculture Annex) located just north of the current Agriculture Building. The new food and textile laboratories were of the latest design. Faculty also were concerned with preparing teachers of home economics with a variety of home appliances. For example, the lab provided cook stoves that were fueled with either wood, kerosene, gas, or electricity, so students could become familiar with all four cooking media. Also located in the building were a child study laboratory, the bacteriology department, and offices for extension workers.
During the 1990s the building underwent changes to its mechanical and air conditioning systems. The original windows were replaced by energy-saving fixed windows. These changes were completed by March 1992.
In 1995, the Department of Home Economics became the new School of Human Environmental Sciences. The building’s original purpose, however, is still marked by the words "Home Economics" carved in stone over the building’s entrance.
The Home Economics Building was accepted for listing in the National Register of Historic Places in September 1992.
Campus History Committee, 2002