University of Puerto Rico – San Juan PR


The expansion and development of Puerto Rico’s education system was central to the Puerto Rico Reconstruction Administration’s (PRRA) agenda. The agency earmarked $2,062,954.40 for the development of the University of Puerto Rico, which remains the most important higher-education institution on the Island. The new buildings built by the PRRA included the Home Economics Building, Library Hall, Teachers’ College Hall, Normal School, the Biology Building, and an auditorium. “With these funds the following buildings have been constructed at the University of Puerto Rico: an auditorium with a capacity for 2,000 persons; a library with room for more than 50,000 volumes; a home economic building; a school of education; a biology laboratory; a building for the College of Liberal Arts; reconstruction of the administration building and an agricultural building at the College of Agriculture and Mechanic arts of Mayaguez, affording work to more than 3,000 men.”

The Annual Report of the Department of the Interior provides details on the construction program carried out by the PRRA at the Rio Piedras (San Juan) and Mayaguez campuses:

“The building program in the university project for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1938, included among other features the finishing work on the auditorium. This modem structure, equipped with an up-to-date air conditioning and ventilating system, will provide comfortable seating capacity for 2,085 persons. The grant of additional funds for the continuation of the building program made possible the construction of a long-needed biology laboratory building for the experiment station of the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras. It is considered that this will be a valuable asset in the insular field of scientific research and agricultural advancement. Additional funds allotted for the ensuing fiscal year will take care of the construction of the engineering building to be located on the grounds occupied by the College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts at Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. This building will consist of classrooms, lecture halls, testing laboratories, and shops for civil, mechanical, and sugar engineering courses. The enlargement and reconstruction of the School of Tropical Medicine at San Juan, Puerto Rico, including its adjoining hospital, is also scheduled for the coming year. Aside from the natural growth resulting from this enlargement of its physical plant, the University of Puerto Rico may be expected to develop in the future as an international educational institution where students in South, Central, and North America will meet, thus laying the basis for a better understanding and o. more comprehensive friendship between the Spanish and the English speaking people of the New World. That, undoubtedly, would greatly improve the commercial and political relations between the nations of America.”


Project Details

Federal Cost Local Cost Total Cost Project #'s

Source notes

Annual Report of the Department of the Interior, For the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1938, By United States. Dept. of the Interior, Washington: 1938.

McKee, Brent, 2015, A New Deal for Puerto Rico. See: New Deal of the Day, (, accessed on April 30, 2017.

National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 69-PWA.

Puerto Rico in the Great Depression, Facts About the Puerto Rico Reconstruction Administration. Information Research Section, P.R.R.A., December 1938. See: (, accessed on April 30, 2017.

Thirty-Seventh Annual Report of the Governor of Puerto Rico, 1937, p. 33.

Project originally submitted by Brent McKee on May 1, 2017.

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Location Info

University of Puerto Rico
San Juan, PR

Coordinates: 18.4027888, -66.04980469999998

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