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Fifty years of classes

By Dale Johnson Posted: July 5, 2015 9:00 a.m.

When classes began in 1965, the new campus was made up of just the Classroom and Laboratory buildings
When classes began in 1965, the new campus was made up of just the Classroom and Laboratory buildings (U of R Archives).

It was 50 years ago today – on July 5, 1965 – that students attended classes for the very first time at what now is known as the main campus of the University of Regina. Back then, it was known as the new Regina campus of the University of Saskatchewan and was made up of the Classroom and Laboratory buildings.

On Monday, July 5, 1965, the Leader-Post newspaper reported that, “400 science and history students picked their way over muddy, still-unfinished roads to become the first to take lectures at the new campus being built on the bald prairie on the southeastern outskirts of the city.”

Meanwhile, another 1,200 students took summer classes at the familiar College Avenue buildings, which had been the home of post-secondary education in Regina since 1911.

Work continued through the summer to have the new campus ready for most students by the fall.

New Campus pix
The first two buildings on the new campus, and designer
Minoru Yamasaki (U of R Archives).

“When the fall session begins, it is expected all but education, music and art students will be taking classes at the new campus site, part of the city’s multi-million dollar Wascana Centre complex,” the Leader-Post reported in its full-page coverage.

When those first students arrived at the new campus in the summer of ’65, construction work had already started on the second stage of the campus – which would include a library and physical education building.

Two sites were considered for the Regina campus of the University of Saskatchewan. One consideration was simply adding buildings beside those already on College Avenue. The other possible location was the Dominion Experimental Farm – the location of today’s University of Regina.

The designer of the campus, Minoru Yamasaki of Michigan (who later designed the World Trade Center in New York City), told the Leader-Post: “The opportunity to build a completely new and integrated university on bare land is one which occurs very infrequently in our times. Normally, the planned development is hampered by existing buildings which neither fit the aesthetic objective nor are situated opportunely, by a cumbersome road system of other factors which impede the development of a fine and truly appropriate basic concept.”