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Department of History Moves to Chitwood Hall

The department will occupy Chitwood Hall after operating out of Woodburn Hall since 1950.
Next week, the Department of History will move into its new home at Chitwood Hall, marking a new chapter in the building’s long life at Woodburn Circle.

After undergoing renovations since 2021, Chitwood Hall will reopen for business on January 8. The building houses four general purpose classrooms, and it will serve as a centralized space for members of the history department to learn, work and gather.

“Chitwood Hall was named in 1972 in honor of history professor Oliver Chitwood, who taught at WVU between 1907 and 1946. Therefore, I think this is a perfect new home for the history department,” said Kate Kelsey Staples, an associate professor and Chair of the Department of History. “The renovations accommodate some new student-centered spaces in the building, and we are excited to welcome students, faculty and staff to our new home in the spring semester.”

Chitwood features a student resource room on the ground level that will serve as a gathering place for history student clubs and organizations, as well as several common areas dedicated to student work and research, graduate student offices and the Department of History’s faculty offices. The central administrative office for the history department is located on the second floor, along with a conference room for faculty meetings and dissertation defense presentations.

Updated technology was installed in all classroom and meeting spaces. Other significant upgrades include a modernized elevator, ADA accessible restrooms, energy-efficient lighting, enhanced security, a lactation room and a gender-inclusive restroom with a baby changing table.

“I am delighted to see Chitwood Hall’s renovation complete and excited for the Department of History to move into its new space. It is fitting for the department to occupy a building with such historical significance,” said Gregory Dunaway, Dean of Eberly College of Arts and Sciences.

Built in 1893, the Chitwood Hall was originally named Science Hall and served as a home base for scientific education and research at West Virginia University. During its early years, Science Hall held space for physics and chemistry, and it housed the West Virginia State Standards of Weights and Measures. It also served as the workplace of notable zoology professor Albert M. Reese, a renowned scientist and crocodile expert who significantly contributed to field of zoology during his tenure at WVU.