U.W.I. Administration Building
As one enters The University of the West Indies (The UWI) St. Augustine campus from the northeastern entrance, the first major structure encountered is the Old Administration Building. It is important architecturally with its rectangular columns of Freemasonic derivation, and historically being one of the oldest buildings on the campus.
Before its use as The UWI’s administrative facility, it was the building of the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture (ICTA), the forerunner to The UWI St. Augustine campus. The Imperial College, initially under the designation Imperial Department of Agriculture for the West Indies, was established in October 1922. Provisionally, the institution operated in the Old Yaws Hospital building where The UWI Bookshop now stands. Therefore, there was still the need for a purpose-built facility to conduct the affairs of the institution. In this regard, the foundation stone of ICTA was laid by former Governor of Trinidad and Tobago Sir Samuel Wilson on January 14th 1924, and construction took place between 1923 and 1925. The institution was formally opened in 1926. It housed the principal’s and registrar’s offices, the library (on the top floor), classrooms and laboratories. The building was designed in Spanish Colonial style by British architect Major Corlette who gained notoriety for his design of new government buildings in Kingston, Jamaica following a 1907 earthquake.
The establishment of ICTA was an important milestone for education in the West Indies as it offered West Indian males (usually of elite stock) who held matriculation qualification the option to attain Diploma-level education, or pursue a fourth year post-graduate course, without having to travel to Britain or the United States of America. Students of this institution sought qualifications to enter the British empire’s agricultural services and researched the cultivation and processing of tropical crops.
Despite its initial agricultural focus, it was felt that there was need to expand the range of disciplines offered to academics. Thus, in 1960, there was a merger between ICTA and the University College of the West Indies (UCWI became UWI in 1962) to allow for a wider pool of options. With this merger, more buildings were constructed over time to accommodate new disciplines beginning with the Engineering Block (1962-63), and the JFK Complex (1968-69) which facilitated the teaching of the arts, social sciences and natural sciences. Within the JFK Complex was also a lecture theatre, an auditorium, a cafeteria, and a new Library which freed up further space in the Administration Building.
In the early 2000s, the Lloyd Braithwaite Building (New Student Administration Building) was constructed and most of the remaining functions, of, now Old Administration Building, were transferred there. Today, The UWI’s Old Administration Building has shed most of its previous functions but has retained the Registrar’s Office, the Human Resources Appointments Section, and the Bursary.
Other Known Name: Old Administration Building
Address: Sherlock Crescent, UWI Campus
Town/City: St. Augustine
Region: Tunapuna – Piarco
Site Type: Cultural Heritage
Cultural Community: Caribbean
Site Features: Schools
Sherlock Crescent, UWI Campus, St. Augustine, Tunapuna – Piarco