Campus News News

How a clock company’s building became the Living Center and Blake Hall

By Cait Kemp

On the south end of campus, The Living Center bookends the College along with the Senior Suites on the opposing side. It is one of the farthest walks, yet no more than five minutes on Springfield’s small campus. The Living Center has become one of the most common living options among students their junior or senior year. 30 years ago, it was created due to the lack of housing the College was facing.

Upon its purchase in 1990, the Living Center, or “the LCs” as it is more commonly known now, was originally named the “Logan Street Building” or the “Standard Electric Time Building.” This building was bought in hopes to further living and academic pursuits and became two sections: the Living Center and Blake Hall.

The Standard Electric Time Company was founded in 1884 in Waterbury, Conn. by Charles Warner. Warner was described as “a pioneer in the clock-manufacturing field,” as Larry Gormally wrote in an 1989 edition of The Springfield Journal. It was the oldest manufacturer of electric clocks in the United States, and manufactured both synchronized clock systems and fire alarms. The building was in use for 76 years before being bought by Springfield to use as part of the campus.

The Living Center was the second apartment-style living option along with the Townhouses. Soon, in 1991, the Kakley Graduate Annex was under construction and became apartment-style living for grad students. These buildings helped the housing shortage that was occurring at the time, and were important additions to the College.

“With one eye on the present and the other on the future, [Springfield College] officials say they believe the long term renovations to the former Standard Electric Time building will help address today’s housing needs– and tomorrow’s academic ones,” wrote Linc Bedrosian in a 1992 edition of The Springfield Student.

Prior to the creation of the LCs, Springfield only accommodated on-campus housing for 1,656 students despite the 2,250 undergraduate students who attended the College full-time.

“But eventually, the building will hold more than housing… the building was bought with long-term needs in mind,” Bedrosian wrote in the article. “The latter two-thirds of the complex will ultimately be utilized for classroom space and faculty and administrative offices.”

Involved with this $7 million project was the Kakley Annex, named for Joseph Kakley. Kakely grew up in the area and started one of the largest home-building supply centers in Western Mass. called J.R. Kakley & Sons, Inc. He was very active in the Springfield community as a business owner for several decades, and always gave back to people. He was honored with the name of the Annex due to his commitment to the city and College communities.

It becomes a contest for students in their junior year to secure an LC, finally getting to live out of a typical double room in the dorms. It is part of Springfield College culture. However, knowing it was once just a part of a vision that became a reality on campus is fulfilling to see. An endeavor to improve the living options and increase classroom and office space proved to be successful, and it will continue to be a monument of the College’s success.

Photo Courtesy Springfield College

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