University of Colorado: Women’s Club/McKenna Languages Building – Boulder CO


A Women’s Club building was added to the campus of the University of Colorado in 1937, paid for by the federal Public Works Administration (PWA).

“Before the construction of the new women’s club, the University of Colorado had no suitable facilities for the holding of social functions by women.

The building is two stories in height and contains on the first floor a living room, approximately 40 by 25 feet, a dining room, reception room, manager’s office, kitchen, and pantry. The second floor is devoted to bedrooms.

Construction is fireproof with a reinforced-concrete frame and floor slabs, exterior walls of native stone, and a roof covered with tile. The building was completed in in September 1937 at a construction cost of $65,707 and a project cost of $69,236.”   (Short and Brown 1939, p 317)

The building is now known as the McKenna Languages Building:

“McKenna was named to honor Olivia Cleveland McKenna (Class of 1898) who, with her husband John, donated the funds to construct a social center and dormitory for women who were not affiliated with a campus sorority. It was such a charming, beautiful place that competition to live in it eventually became fierce.

A 1947 addition to the south was the last work in Boulder done from the designs of Charles Klauder. McKenna was converted to academic uses in 1962. Because it was built as a residence, its scale is comparable to that of a large private home. The terrace overlooking Varsity Lake is one of the campus treasures.” (UofC website)

Project Details

Federal Cost Local Cost Total Cost Project #'s

Source notes

C.W. Short and R. Stanley-Brown, Public Buildings: A Survey of Architecture of Projects Constructed by Federal and Other Governmental Bodies Between the Years 1933 and 1939 with the Assistance of the Public Works Administration. Washington, D.C.: USGPO, 1939.

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Location Info

University of Colorado
Boulder, CO 80309

Coordinates: 40.007416, -105.267211

2 comments on “University of Colorado: Women’s Club/McKenna Languages Building – Boulder CO

  1. Brock Erickson

    A few minutes ago I submitted current information on WPA site University of Colorado: Women’s Club Building – Boulder, now known as McKenna Languages Building. I omitted the following location information from my submission, and I’d be grateful if you could add it. Thank you. — Brock Erickson

    Information take from website:

    Coordinates (One point per USGS topographic map containing the feature, NAD83)

    Sequence: 1
    Latitude(DEC): 40.0096910
    Longitude(DEC): -105.2736300
    Latitude(DMS): 400035N
    Longitude(DMS): 1051625W
    Map Name: Boulder

    Elevation: 5410

    • Gabriel Milner

      Thank you for this. We have a GIS system that automatically converts the coordinates, so they should already be up there. But again, thanks for your submission and the follow-up.

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