Joe J. Struckle Education Center
The Education Center, known originally as the Horace Mann Building, was built in 1936-37 to house elementary and high schools operated for teacher training purposes by the Education Department. Construction was a joint project with Jesse Dunn Building and the Science Annex (later Carter Hall) when those structures were built to replace the Castle on the Hill after it burned in 1935. Total cost of the new buildings was $545,000. Dedication of the new buildings was March 12, 1937, with Eleanor Roosevelt on campus for the occasion.
Horace Mann continued as the training school until 1946 when the college suspended operation of the training school. The building was then turned over to the Alva Public School system as a facility for Horace Mann Elementary School. High school students transferred to Alva High. Student teachers formerly working in the training school were assigned both to Horace Mann and Longfellow schools and to Alva High.
Horace Mann remained a part of the Alva school system until 1962, when the building was required to meet the growing needs of the college. Lincoln Elementary School was built to replace Horace Mann in the Alva system.
Plans to convert the building into the Education Center were devised by Dr. Silas Stamper and Dr. Milt Lehr. The design called for all windows to be closed. Interior space on the first floor was reorganized to provide for an audio-visual communications center and a psychological center, in addition to classrooms and offices. The classrooms were to be examples of the most modern facilities, with remote controls for lighting and projection equipment, tip-out screens for overhead projectors, rise-and-fall chalkboards and sliding tackboards, a speaker system, and trapezoidal tables. Most of the work was done by the campus maintenance department, headed by Albert "Hap" Pearson.
The first floor was ready for use in January 1963. Work to remodel the second floor, however, was delayed some three years, being completed in the summer of 1966. The principal features of the second floor were the reading clinic and the curriculum library. Again, work was done by the maintenance department.
Few changes were made in the building until an extensive remodel in March 1994. It was part of a $2.8 million project that included the total renovation of Vinson Hall for academic purposes. The architectural firm of Reese and Associates of Oklahoma City drew up the plans. Henson Construction Co., of Enid was the general contractor. The building was vacated for the work, faculty members being assigned temporary offices in other buildings and classes being conducted elsewhere.
The work included the reopening and replacing of windows closed in the earlier remodeling. A second floor was added on the west over the area known as EC6, which originally had been a gymnasium in the Horace Mann Building and had been converted into a large lecture hall in the 1960s remodeling. In the 1994 remodeling, EC6 itself was completely redone with elevated seating for larger classes and group meetings. In other areas, office suites were created. An elevator was installed. Conference rooms were developed. The entire decor was brightened.
The building was reoccupied in January 1995.
Currently, the departments of education and psychology occupy the building. The building was officially named the Joe J. Struckle Education Center in the fall of 2000 following Dr. Struckle's retirement as Northwestern's president in June 2000.
In 2007, the Education Building, along with the Jesse Dunn Building and Carter Hall, celebrated 70 years of standing proudly and serving the needs of Northwestern and the area. A special handout about the buildings was prepared for an observance held on Sept. 20, 2007, to celebrate Northwestern's 110th anniversary, the State of Oklahoma's 100th anniversary, and the Fine Arts Building's 100th birthday.