Part 2: Inside Doak Hall

Doak Hall's ballroom

Doak Hall’s ballroom

Part 1  |  Part 3

Partially hidden between the abandoned Weeks Hall and the Human Sciences building is an old residence hall that is still mostly unrenovated and vacant.

Doak Hall’s first floor hosts programs under Texas Tech University’s Division of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement such as the Cross-Cultural Academic Advancement Center, Mentor Tech and the military veterans program. The Texas Tech Women’s Studies program is also housed in the first floor of Doak Hall.

doak asbestos signs-400But a short walk up the grand wrought-iron staircase leads to a large ballroom and rooms that used to house up to 320 students, rooms that are now filled with trash, decaying building supplies, and asbestos insulation.

Named in honor of Tech’s first dean of women, Mary W. Doak, the residence hall opened up as the first student housing complex for women in 1934 at the cost of $313,168 – approximately $2 million in today’s money – but in the fall of 2012, freshmen men were its last inhabitants.

According to Paul Cotter, asbestos compliance manager for Tech Environmental Health & Safety, the lower-level offices are safe from the asbestos-filled upper floors thanks to an air exhaust system that keeps office air clean and employees healthy.

ballroom's piano keys

ballroom’s piano keys

It has long been rumored that there is a grand ballroom inside of neighboring Weeks Hall, but what people are really thinking of is the one inside Doak Hall. During the building’s heyday, the ballroom was used as a place the residents could meet and visit with their friends. An old piano, grand fireplace and elegant arches still mark the room where male and female students met each other for dates during the days that co-ed living was somewhat scandalous.

the office kitchen

the office kitchen

Doak Hall’s old office along with the administrators’ kitchen are located on the left wing of the ballroom, and their spacious, carpeted rooms are to the right. To the right and left of the iron staircase are hallways that hold empty dorm rooms that are moldy, water-logged, and sometimes vandalized. Along the hallways are boxes that contain old plans for renovation that never came to realization, and various items of litter and trash fill maintenance rooms and inside walls.

So, Doak’s second and third floors remain unoccupied, cluttered, and awaiting a decision from BM&C and funding from Tech leadership, which oversees the plans made regarding buildings like Doak, as well as future plans for endeavors such as the new Petroleum Engineering building.

About Abbie Arroyos and Alicia Keene


  1. Nice photo essay, Alicia.

  2. Carolyn Weathers says:

    It was fun to see these photos. It was in the ballroom devotees on the brand TV series “Twilight Zone” would gather to watch it. 1959-60.

  3. David Cullen says:

    Oh wow. I inhabited Doak Hall back in the 1995-1996 school year before graduating (last year at Tech). Makes me sad to see what has become of it.

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