UA Journey

History of Signers' Hall

In 1931, Signers’ Hall was the first concrete structure built on the UAF campus. The building had been designed with two stories to house the gymnasium and the library, but during the Depression the territorial legislature could appropriate only $25,000. So a single story had to be covered with a temporary roof until funds could be obtained to finish the building.

President Charles Bunnell held a firm conviction that the library should be housed in a fireproof building, so he fought hard during the following legislative session to acquire the funds to complete it. In 1935, the territorial legislature appropriated $35,000 to complete Signers’ Hall, relocating the library, which had previously been housed in Old Main. During the renovation of the gymnasium, the mezzanine ceiling was raised and floor space on the balcony and at the north end of the building was expanded to provide office space and a second floor.

The building was used for commencements, dances, theater productions and meetings as well as its gym and library functions.

In 1956, the Alaska Constitution was signed in the hall.

In the early 1960s, the growing library was moved to the Bunnell Building and a new gymnasium was built in the Patty Center. In 1964, the museum collections were relocated from the Eielson Building to Signers’ Hall and remained there until May 1980, when the museum’s new home was built and opened on the university’s West Ridge.

The building was known as the old museum and used as a storage facility until 1983 when a state legislative appropriation allowed major renovations that converted it into office space with a link to the adjacent Eielson Building, which helped make both buildings more accessible. In addition, the building was named Signers’ Hall, acknowledging its history. It now houses the Office of the Chancellor and other administrative offices, including admissions and the registrar’s office.