Academic Building Three


1922 Avenue J
Map | ID#: 0008



Last used for housing [7]

ROTC moves to building

Oct. 1987:
Renamed AB3

Used for Hurricane Rita evacuations

Used for Hurricane Ike evacuations

Jan. 2010:
Used for Department of Nursing




Wirtz, Calhoun, Tungate & Jackson

Schneider Construction Co. Inc.


Academic Building Three (AB3/ABIII) is a three-story facility at the northwest corner of Avenue J and Bowers Boulevard.

The building was constructed as the campus's second gymnasium for men, replacing a nearby temporary frame building. The 1956 Alcalde notes this $600,000 structure has a seating capacity for 3,000 and "two regulation basketball courts, six handball courts, two boxing arenas, athletic classrooms and offices, and living quarters for the scholarship athletes [1]."

Following the construction of the Health-Kinesiology Center and the consolidation of the offices and classrooms found in both the men's and women's gymnasiums, the 1984 Alcalde said this building was slated for demolition [2]. Instead, the building went on to house other program areas including the Office of Graduate Studies and McNair Scholars Program.

Administrative offices, classrooms, and supply rooms for the Department of Military Science and Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) have been located on the second and third floors since 1986.

By the mid-1980s there was a push to have the names of buildings reflect the disciplines taught within them. As physical education classes were being taught elsewhere, this building was given the temporary name Academic Building Three [3]; other buildings affected by this change were AB1 and AB2.

The Department of Dance began utilizing the building during the early 1990s, converting gymnasium floors into classrooms, studios, and the AB3 Dance Theatre. The department paid tribute to its long-time home during its Spring 2010 Dance Spectrum with a concert, retrospective costume show, and video presentation entitled Life in AB3. The department moved to the Performing Arts Center later that fall.

AB3 was utilized as a shelter during the mandatory evacuations from Hurricanes Rita (2005) and Ike (2008), housing 206 evacuees in 2005 and members of the Houston Clearlake campus in 2008.

In September 2004 it was speculated that the building would be demolished before the end of the decade [3]. The Fall 2009 edition of the SHSU Heritage magazine further confirmed its eventual demolition as part of the 2008 Campus Master Plan [4].

It was announced in 2010 that the newly-formed Department of Nursing would occupy AB3 until the new Nursing/Biological Sciences Building is constructed [5].


Academic Building Three

The site of the new men's gym was next to the site of the old men's gym.

Academic Building Three

A painting of the new gym graced the pages of the 1956 Alcalde.

Academic Building Three

The building was repurposed as an “Academic Building” in the 1980s. Notice the two cannons at the southwest corner of the building have yet to be added.

Academic Building Three

Two Howitzer cannons, Trudy and Boom, guard the southwest corner and celebrate the achievements of the Military Science program.

Academic Building Three

A metal plaque inside the southern entrance reminds visitors about the building’s early years.

Academic Building Three

The Department of Nursing moved into AB3 following the Dance program’s relocation into the new Performing Arts Center.


  1. Alcalde, 1956
  2. Alcalde, 1984
  3. Building Names Becoming Generic, Houstonian, Oct. 22, 1987
  4. President's Update (Sep. 14, 2004)
  5. Heritage magazine (Fall 2009)
  6. Department of Nursing
  7. SHSU: 2000, Campus Master Plan (1982)


comments powered by Disqus

About the site

The Buildings of Sam Houston State University website documents the physical changes of the SHSU campus in Huntsville from its inception in 1879 through tomorrow. The alumnus-run site details changes to the academic, residential, and historical buildings and other prominent landmarks.