Cumberland University

History of CU Buildings

Baird Chapel: Baird Chapel features an elegant Art Nouveau ceiling, portraits of individuals important to CU history, and a beautiful stained-glass window depicting the symbol of the Phoenix. Located on the west end of the first floor of Memorial Hall, this former gymnasium was renovated in the 1930s by Walter Jackson Baird in memory of his wife, Ethel Bouton Baird. In the past, Baird Chapel has been used as a movie theater and as a University and community assembly and lecture hall. Recent renovations that feature the room’s elegance and depict the era in which it was constructed have made it a popular site for wedding receptions and community and University social events.

Benton Jennings Indoor Training Facility: Constructed in 2002, this modern 6,000 square foot building houses batting cages for baseball and softball, a weight room and space for other sports programs to enhance athletic training.

Bone Hall: This three-story brick building was built in 1938 and houses administrative and faculty offices, classrooms, and conference rooms.  During World War II, the Second Army chose Cumberland University for its Maneuver Director Headquarters, and the Women's residence hall (now Bone Hall) was chosen as the message center. The Second Army arrived in September 1942 and continued in residence in March 1944. During this time, General George Patton was on campus and lived in Bone Hall.

Some notable entertainment and film industry personalities who were on the switchboard during the maneuvers included Buddy Hackett, Norman Tokar, and Stanley Kramer. (This information came from Dr. G. Frank Burns.) Bone Hall also housed faculty members who lived in small apartments there.

Campus: The historic campus of CU is situated on forty-six (46) acres in a residential neighborhood near the main business district of Lebanon, Tennessee.

Cumberland Culinary Center: The Culinary Center is located off Tennessee Boulevard in Lebanon, adjacent to the vocational center at Lebanon High School. The 2,400 square foot facility houses a commercial kitchen and storage space intended to serve area entrepreneurs and farmers as well as local students. The Cumberland Culinary Center aids entrepreneurs in producing, promoting, and packaging their products with a focus on locally grown and produced goods in conjunction with the “Pick Tennessee Products” initiative.

CU Wrestling Building: The Cumberland University wrestling building broke ground for a 4800 square foot wrestling facility in 2006. The building was made possible by a generous donation from Ron Magruder, Group President of an Ontario-based company. In 1997, Magruder also helped the wrestling program get on its feet by buying mats and getting an endowment started at $100,000. The wrestling facility is a three phase project. The first phase of the project now complete includes a 60’x80’ multi-purpose facility located at 317 S. Greenwood in Lebanon. Designed for future expansion to 180’x80’x16’, the pre-engineered building system allows the wrestling team to have its own facility without having to share space with other sports programs.

Dallas Floyd Recreation Center: The Center was constructed in 1991 and was made possible by a $1.5 million gift from J.D. and Ann Floyd and Billy and Jane Baxter in memory of Dallas Floyd, the father of J.D. Floyd and Jane Baxter. The 30,000 square-foot facility has a seating capacity of 1,950, accommodates men’s and women’s basketball, women’s volleyball and physical education classes. The Recreation Center also contains offices for coaches and locker rooms.

Doris and Harry Vise Library: Constructed in 1989, Vise Library serves the needs of CU’s students, faculty, and staff, plus provides limited access to its collection to the community. Vise Library contains an assortment of materials available for use by the students, faculty, and visitors. The collection of over 40,000 volumes, 420+ print periodical titles, and access to 35 electronic databases and a collection of over 25,000 e-books. Hundreds of sound recordings, musical scores and videotapes are available.

Catron Alumni House: The office of Advancement (Development & Alumni Relations) is located in this on-campus facility which faces Spring Street. This building was once the home of several Presidents of the University. In 1998, a gift from William Goodbar “Jit” and Blanche Paty Catron (both alumni of CU) converted this house from a residence into office, meeting, and reception space for alumni, faculty, staff, and student use.  

June and Bill Heydel Fine Arts Center: The Center opened in fall 1996 and was made possible by a generous gift from the Heydel Family. The 8,900 square foot facility houses a 250-seat theater/concert hall, dressing rooms, faculty offices, and the Edward E. and Gemma Gause Adams Gallery, which was made possible by a grant from The Thackston Family Foundation. The building houses a Steinway grand piano, as well as a Rogers organ, a gift – From Dr. Virginia G. Lockmiller.

Kirk Field: The original playing field for CU was named in 1922 in honor of W.H. Kirkpatrick of Nashville, Tennessee. The reinstatement of football in 1990 necessitated the rebuilding of the playing field, and the name Kirk Field was retained. A 7,000 square foot field house occupies the north end of the area, near the South Tarver Avenue entrance to the campus. The field house contains the Athletic Training Center, weight room, training room, football and soccer locker rooms, laundry room and offices for the coaching staff.

Labry Hall: Constructed in 2002, this building has over fifty thousand square feet and contains fifteen general purpose classrooms, two-tiered lecture halls, two computer laboratories/ classrooms, the institutional career center, a specialized accounting laboratory/classroom, seventeen faculty offices, an office suite for the Dean of the Labry School of Business and Economics, the Office of Informational Technology, Academic and Career Enrichment (ACE) Center, a two-story atrium for use as both a study and social function area, as well as a student and faculty lounge. A portion of the building was once the Old Gymnasium built in 1936 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The building was made possible by a gift from Mr. Edward A. Labry, III, Class of 1985, currently President of Concord EFS in Memphis, Tennessee.

Lawlor Art Center: This red-brick, two-story Tudor style house on McClain Avenue houses the Art Studios. The Lawlor House was a gift to the University from Virginia G. Lockmiller, a 1932 CU graduate, a former faculty member, and a member of the Board of Trust, in memory of her late husband, Richard Lawlor.

Learning and Career Commons at Mary White Hall: Mary White was originally a residence hall built in the 1960’s. It is presently the Learning and Career Commons at Mary White Hall.

Lindsey Donnell Stadium: Built in 1991 for football and soccer, this 1,360-seat stadium was dedicated in 1992 in memory of one of CU’s greatest scholar-athletes, Lindsey Donnell, BA 1936.

McFarland Hall: During the summer of 2004, University Medical Center (UMC) donated over 20,000 square feet of office space to CU for the Jeanette Rudy School of Nursing labs and classrooms. All nursing faculty offices, labs and classrooms are currently located in McFarland Hall.

Memorial Hall: Listed on the National Register for Historic Places, the building is the focal point of the campus and houses administrative, faculty and staff offices, classrooms, and Baird Chapel. The distinctive clock tower is Lebanon’s tallest landmark.  The construction and occupancy of Memorial Hall are best described by Dr. G. Frank Burns's book Phoenix Rising, and Winstead Paine Bone's book, A History of Cumberland University, 1842-1935. Dr. Bone was the sixth president of Cumberland University, and his great-grandson, Winstead Paine Bone III, currently serves as a trustee.

Memorial Hall originally had a chapel that was an extension of the central section (western side) of the building. It was soon perceived, however, that the acoustics of this large room made it unsuitable for its intended purpose, and in 1900 it was made into a gymnasium and remained so for nearly 40 years. Then the generosity of Walter Jackson Baird, in memory of his wife, Ethel Bouton Baird, made it possible in 1939 to redecorate this room, which was named Baird Chapel. The acoustics were remarkably improved during the 1963 renovation of the building with the installation of theater type chairs with cloth seats and backs, and Baird Chapel has been used for most formal programs since. Baird Chapel received extensive renovation in the 1990s through a matching Historical Grant from the State of Tennessee and an additional gift from one of our trustees, Dr. Jeanette C. Rudy, which helped to complete the three-year project.

When first built, the College of Arts had the whole first floor, the Theological School had the second, and the third floor remained unfinished until it became the Mitchell Library. University offices and a chemistry lab were also on the first floor, but the chemistry lab was later moved to the third floor, where it is still housed today.

Mitchell Student Center / Phillips Dining Hall: The Center was constructed in 1965. The top floor features a lovely patio and contains Phillips Dining Hall, named in honor of Dr. Ray C. Phillips the twenty-second President of CU, and Dr. Phyllis P. Phillips, Professor Emerita of Speech, and the “K” Room, named for Professor J. D. Kirkpatrick who taught at CU from 1875 to 1895. The lower level contains student recreation areas; student mailboxes; staff, and student organization offices; and band and instrument practice rooms.

Nokes-Lasater Field: Nokes-Lasater Field serves as the home of the Cumberland football program and includes a 5,000-seat stadium with lights along with two 70-yard practice fields. The facility also houses a team locker room, athletic training facilities, two concession stands, restrooms on the home and visitor sides of the stadium, a six-lane asphalt track, along with a large building for storage.  Cumberland moved into the facility in June 2012 and leases the area from the Wilson County Board of Education. The University spent upwards of $400,000 during the summer of 2012, renovating the locker rooms and coaches offices with carpeting and central heat and air, as well as pressure washing and painting the bulk of the facility. Also, an old locker room was converted into a full athletic training area and showers and restrooms were installed in another old locker room for use by visiting teams.

Residence Halls: The University has five residence halls: Howell E. Jackson Hall (formerly Cumberland Commons I), Horace H. Lurton Hall (formerly Cumberland Commons II), Edward Potter Hall, Justin Potter Hall and South Hall. Edward Potter Hall and Justin Potter Hall, constructed in the 1960s, house a maximum of 225 students and offer traditional community living on campus. Each air-conditioned hall features single and double occupancy rooms, a lounge area, laundry facilities, and an apartment for head residents. Howell E. Jackson Hall (formerly Cumberland Commons I), Horace H. Lurton Hall (formerly Cumberland Commons II), constructed in 1997 and 1999, are a student housing complex offering apartment-style living for 192 students. Each two-story unit houses six students and features single rooms and shared living/study areas. One unit is designed to accommodate students with physical disabilities in each commons. South Hall opened in January 2012 and has space for 150 students. The hall has four levels and houses both men and women on separate floors.

Rudy House: The original house was built in 1940 and was renovated and restored in 1988 by Dr. Jeanette C. Rudy, a member of the Board of Trust. The first-floor room is used primarily for entertainment and features a fully equipped kitchen. The second floor contains a living area for guests.

Rudy Music Annex: This building was constructed in the 1960s and renovated in 1991. The renovation was made possible by a generous gift from Dr. Jeanette Rudy, a retired Registered Nurse and a member of the Board of Trust. The building is now being used for music faculty offices and practice rooms.

Softball Field: Constructed in the early 1990s, this facility contains a field house, a press box, and offices for the coaching staff.

Stockton Baseball Field and Woody Hunt Stadium: This modern facility incorporates the Ernest Stockton playing field, named in memory of CU’s 19th President, a field house, and a concession and press facility. In 1998, the stadium was named in honor of Ronald G. “Woody” Hunt, Head Baseball Coach and former University Athletic Director.

Winstead Paine Bone House: The House was built in 1955 by Winstead Paine Bone Jr., a graduate and loyal supporter of Cumberland University. He was the son of Dr. Winstead Paine Bone, the sixth President of Cumberland University (1909-1914). The home was designed by prominent Nashville architect Clinton Parrent.  The House was given to Cumberland University by Mary Gordon and Winstead Paine Bone, Jr.’s children, Mary Ann Bone Denney, Nancy Bone Scott and W.P. Bone III.