Preserving a Texas Tech landmark

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Updated: 7/30/2013 12:04 pm
Since the dairy barn stopped being used in the mid-60s time and weather has taken its toll on the barn.  

The dairy barn started to fall into disrepair and Dr. Michael Galyean, the dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources said that's when students stepped in to try and preserve it. 

"In the early 90's the dairy barn had fallen into a sad state of repairs," Michael Galyean, Ph.D., said. "The roof had gaping holes in it the structure was really in bad shape. If something wasn't done fairly soon the likelihood was that it was going to have to be demolished just because to much damage. So at that time actually a group of students led the charge to get it recognized as a national historic site, which it is there's a plaque on the dairy barn that I think was in about '91 or '92 that it was established on the national register of historic places. So the students took the lead in doing that, they also at the time put an effort together to raise money to renovate the dairy barn." 

Those students were successful as a new roof, new wood and other substantial renovations were made to the barn.   

But this wasn't the only instance where students had fought to save the dairy barn. Dr. Bill Dean, the Executive Vice President of the Texas Tech Alumni Association, shared a story about the founder of the Saddle Tramps Arch Lamb and his efforts to save the dairy barn.  

"Of course (Arch Lamb) fought like a tiger to keep that preserved in fact when John Montford was chancellor he said he had a dream one night that he was on a bulldozer and he was going to bulldoze the dairy barn and he looked up and Arch Lamb was laying in his pathway," Dr. Dean said. "So there's a lot of strong feelings, particularly in the older ag sciences folks that that should be preserved. But I think there is a general feeling among everybody that it's a landmark, it represents our past and we should try to do the best that we can to try and keep it viable."  

Last year some more renovations were done to the dairy barn to make it structurally sound again, but as time goes on more renovations would have to be done.  

And if ever the barn had to be demolished, Dr. Galyean told us that would be a huge loss to the campus.  

"Historically and Texas Tech culture wise it would be a huge loss and I certainly hope and I believe at least right now we have a commitment of the University Administration to the building and to preservation of the building," Dr. Galyean said. "I don't know if anybody has a commitment or really a good concept of what that higher use might be that we hope for. But I think everybody views the significance of the dairy barn to the history of Texas Tech." 

Over the years many ideas and plans have been talked about, but in the end nothing has been done except the required renovations to keep the dairy barn standing. 

But that doesn't mean down the road there might not be some type of project that could be accomplished to help the dairy barn serve a higher purpose.

"There's been a lot of discussion over the years about what that use might be," Dr. Galyean said. "Everything from a restaurant facility for the students to use to alumni type facility for our college to use. It's not the college's property but we obviously have a connection to it that would be different than most other colleges and because of that I think it's something that we will certainly always work to preserve."

So in the next 10 to 15 years there is no telling if the dairy barn will be turned into a classroom, a restaurant or an alumni facility. 

But the one thing that can be bet on is there are people that look to preserve it and its importance in Texas Tech history. 

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