Of all the buildings on Auburn's Campus, Haley Center is the most iconic. Soaring 10 floors into the air, the brick structure is the largest classroom building, surpassed only in height by the stadium. Every Auburn University student is bound to have at least one class in the building, and it is a popular hangout for fans and alumni on game day. It is also home to the Auburn University Bookstore and situated on the concourse, the university's most popular walk path. (Left: Aubie at the Haley Center. Photo by Auburn Student Alumni Association.)
Though it is a part of daily life on campus for students, many people are unfamiliar with the history behind the building. Built in 1969, Haley Center is just over 46 years old. It was named in honor of Paul Shields Haley, who was an Auburn graduate in 1901 with a civil engineering degree. He served as an Auburn Trustee for 51 years.
Haley Center is renowned for its quirky, confusing layout. The 4 quadrants connected to main part of the building have caused students to lose their way a time or two. To newcomers, the Haley Center may be considered daunting and overwhelming. In fact, when the building opened in 1969, The Plainsman thought it might help to publish a map of the building's layout to help students maneuver the way through its maze. (Below: The map of Haley Center published in The Plainsman in 1969. Photo by The War Eagle Reader.)
There is also the Eagle's Nest located on top of the building. In days past, you were able to take an elevator to the 9th floor and then another flight of stairs that led to the observation deck. Panoramic views of the campus caused many to fall in love with Auburn at first sight.
"I remember going up to the Eagle's Nest with a group of friends around midnight," says Celeste Weaver, Auburn alumna who graduated in '84. "The wind was blowing, the lights of the campus were sparkling, and it was such a liberating feeling. It was the moment I decided I wanted to go to college there."
Today, the Eagle's Nest is closed to the general public, but University officials and charted student organizations may make reservations to gain access for official University business and functions.
Haley Center occupies a central role in student life. The building has a colorful past, but its future does not look so bright. Haley Center leads the list of buildings targeted for replacement over the next decade. In 2011, trustees voted to replace it as the central campus building, possibly demolishing it eventually. Though it may be absent from the landscape one day, it will be forever cherished in the hearts of Auburn University alumni.
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