Campus Growth Over the Decades

Explore how campus facilities have grown over the years by clicking on a photo. Check back after each decade’s Legacy Chapel for additional interesting history and facts concerning buildings constructed during that time.
Buildings are listed in chronological order.

70s

Ballard Hall

Coberly Hall

80s

Administration Building

John Ray Hall Field House

Griffith Tower

Varsity and Commons

Academic Center

Dixon Tower

Dale Horton Auditorium

Swim Center

West Campus

Cogeneration Plant

Communicative Arts Center

Campanile

Women’s Parking Garage

90s

Campus House

Bradley Tower

Rebekah Horton Library

Water Tower

Rawson Chapel

Arlin R. Horton Sports Center

The Palms Grille

Young Tower

MacKenzie Building

00s

Four Winds

Graf Clinic

Building 3

10s

20s

Interactive Map

See the footprint of the current campus and learn the history and interesting facts of each landmark constructed from the College’s inception and beyond by clicking on the map.

West Campus is linked in the bottom left of the map.

Administration Building—1980

John Ray Hall Field House—1981

Griffith Tower—1981

Varsity Dining Commons—1982

Ballard—1974

Coberly—1976

Dixon—1985

Academic Center—1985

Dale Horton Auditorium—1986

Swim Center—1986

West Campus
West Campus—1986
Cogeneration Plant—1988
Communicative Arts Center—1988
Campanile—1989

Women’s Parking Garage—1989

Bradley Tower—1991

Campus House—1990

Rebekah Horton Library—1992

MacKenzie Building—1996

Rawson Chapel—1993

Arlin R. Horton Sports Center—1993

The Palms Grille—1993

Water Tower—1992

Young Tower—1995

Ballard Hall

Our first college building served as the breakfast dining area, library, chapel, and residence hall when it opened in 1974. This facility was named in 1979 in honor of Miss Bessie Ballard, a dedicated prayer warrior and charter board member for Pensacola Christian School and College.

Coberly Hall

When Coberly South was built in 1976, it was announced as a 3-story residence hall, chapel, and activity center. The residence hall (Coberly North) addition was built in 1977 and both South and North received a fourth floor in 1982. In 1979, Dr. and Mrs. Horton prayerfully chose a fitting individual to honor with naming a building.

As a committed prayer warrior and Pensacola businessman, Mr. Johnson Coberly served Christian education and child evangelism in many ways. Not only a leader in the original prayer group, he was the chairman of the charter board for Pensacola Christian School.

Administration Building

To accommodate our rapidly growing ministry (which increased from only 100 students to 1,500 students in the first few years of the College), the Administration Building opened in the fall of 1980. When department supervisors were asked to state the most significant asset of the new Administration Building, the overwhelming response was space!

The Information Desk, Business, Records, and Deans’ Offices along with the secretarial and office personnel occupied the first floor. On the second floor, you could find the library and Data Processing. The A Beka Book Publications office took up the third floor with writers, proofreaders, and typesetters, as well as the A Beka Book receiving department. The fourth floor housed the Executive Offices and other offices that served the entire ministry.

The addition of the Administration Building facilitated operational efficiency of the College.

John Ray Hall Field House

The PCC Eagles played their first games in the John Ray Hall Field House on January 30, 1981. They won both games, defeating Atlanta Christian College (106-85) and Southeastern Bible College of Birmingham (98-80). At half time Vice President A.A. Baker presented brief, dedicatory remarks. The spectators joined in singing “To God Be the Glory.” John Ray Hall was on the PCS Board of Directors for seventeen years (1963-1980).

Griffith Tower

Opened in August of 1981 to house women students, Griffith Tower was the first 9-story residence hall on campus. The new residence hall was named in honor of Vea Griffith whose testimony was that she loved to serve Jesus. Vea taught Sunday School and gave the gospel to local children on weekdays.

Earl and Vea Griffith were members of the original prayer group to ask God for Christian education for Pensacola youth. Vea’s husband Earl served on the Pensacola Christian board in three different office during his 18 years of service.

Varsity and Commons

The original Student Commons which is now called Varsity and Commons are the two most used buildings by students. Dr. A. R. Horton officially opened the dining facility with a ribbon-cutting ceremony February 28, 1982.

With seating for 1,200 students, Varsity had 5 dining rooms – Regency (executive), Varsity, Florida, Crest, and Patio. In addition, the modern kitchen prepared more than 4,000 meals a day for elementary, high school and college students.

Student Commons’ phase 2 opened in April 1982 to the delight of the student body. Students enjoyed the services of an 8-lane bowling alley, a snack shop, the Bookstore, social hall, and individually assigned mail box and Post Office.

Academic Center

The Academic Center (AC) opened in the summer of 1985, adding 35 new classrooms for the growing College. The facility was 189,000 square feet, equivalent to approximately 4.5 acres or 126 houses (each 1,500 square feet). On the first floor, students could learn in a 100-seat multimedia auditorium, lyceum, a large home economics laboratory, and 9 classrooms. The other floors housed classrooms and faculty offices, as well as biology, chemistry, and physics laboratories. The third and fourth floors of the AC also temporarily housed the College library between 1985-1992.

At the time, this project was the largest construction undertaking in the history of PCC.

Dixon Tower

Dixon Tower, a nine-story residence hall named in honor of Mrs. Doris Dixon, opened to women students in September 1985. Mrs. Dixon was a member of the original board of individuals who faithfully volunteered and prayed for the new school. She sponsored Bible clubs and Christian youth work in Pensacola as a result of her spiritual burden for children.

Dale Horton Auditorium

The ground-breaking for the Dale Horton Auditorium (DHA) was held in March 1985. Only one year and eight months later, 2,300 people attended the first service held in the new building—one of largest performing arts auditoriums in the Southeast at the time—on November 23, 1986. Students were thrilled to have an on-campus location for chapel and church services, no longer needing to trek across the railroad tracks! One especially meaningful feature of the building is the clay mural that fills the circular lobby wall, depicting biblical events from Creation to the second coming of Christ.

The DHA was named in honor of Dr. Arlin Horton’s father, Jesse Dale Horton, whose personal character had profound influence on Dr. Horton. His oil portrait hangs in the lobby with a caption that inspires students to follow his example: “His life epitomized the character traits that have become synonymous with Pensacola Christian College: responsibility, integrity, personal initiative, faithfulness to God and family.

Swim Center

The Swim Center opened in November 1986. Scores of students were excited to try out the new facility for the first time. The following spring when the weather warmed, the Swim Center bustled with activity as students enjoyed a heated and lighted pool. The pool was built with three swim areas: a shallow pool, an eight-lane racing area, and a diving area with three diving boards. Outdoor lights were added in 1987 for night swimming.

West Campus

West Campus, PCC’s 250-acre waterfront property located near the mouth of the Perdido River, has been a popular destination for students since the fall 1986. The first activity was sailing, with 24 catamarans that would be used for physical education classes and recreation.

Soon, four 60-foot sculling boats arrived from Maine. The sleek nine-man racing boats (eight rowers and one caller to help keep their strokes in sync) were used by collegians in sculling competitions, racing across Perdido Bay in this challenging team water sport.

Currently, the site has grown to include kayaks, paddleboats, gazebos, picnic areas, barbecue grills, fire pits, fishing areas, and more—all free of charge for students to enjoy.

Cogeneration Plant

Providing electrical power for a growing campus is quite a challenge. To meet this need, PCC opened a combined cogeneration facility and engineering laboratory in 1988, the first of its kind in the nation. The 13,000 square foot cogeneration plant, located across the street from the Dale Horton Auditorium, was designed to provide energy for the entire campus. In addition to producing electricity, the facility heated and cooled water used for residence halls, air conditioning, and on-campus facilities—even the Swim Center. By owning and operating its own power plant, PCC reduced its reliance on local utility companies and initially saved an estimated $400,000 per year!

The mechanical engineering students also benefited from the cogeneration plant. The noise level was quiet enough to allow classes to be conducted in rooms around the main engine room, and the specially designed “student panel” in the mechanical engineering laboratory gave them hands-on experience and allowed them to monitor the entire energy production process.

Visual and Performing Arts Center

In summer 1988, the Communicative Arts Center—now known as the Visual and Performing Arts building—opened adjacent to the Dale Horton Auditorium. It included radio and television studios, including facilities for the WPCS radio station and the Rejoice in the Lord television ministry. Broadcasting students enjoyed having their own labs for practice.

All music, speech, and art classes were moved into this facility. The days of music practice in Ballard South were over; students were given access to 24 soundproof rooms for piano and instrumental practice. A beautiful 140-seat Recital Hall, large choir and band rooms, and teaching studios were added to complete the music facilities.

Three large, well-lit rooms were designed for art classes and equipped for drawing, painting, and graphic design. The student artists at the time were given access to Macintosh II computers for desktop publishing. Three exhibit galleries were made to display senior art shows and students’ projects.

Speech faculty and students were excited to have large speech classrooms and the Experimental Theater. In December 1988, the Dramatic Production class produced and presented the first of many plays in the new facility.

Campanile

The campanile, located at the center of campus, is an open, six-story tower capped in copper and mounted by an iron spiral staircase. Its set of bells (the carillon) was cast in Europe and sent to the U.S. to be tuned and arranged chromatically. Tall cranes mounted the carillon in the campanile just after Thanksgiving of 1989.

On December 5, students, faculty, and staff gathered to hear the bells ring out their first two songs: the familiar “Doxology” and the seasonal favorite “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.”

When the carillon was being cast, the College had an opportunity to personalize 22 of the bells with various inscriptions. The inscriptions provide a brief history of PCC as well as testimony to God’s great salvation:

“Pensacola Christian College”
“Carillon installed 1989.”
“Compliments of A Beka Book ’89”
“PCC began fall 1974.”
“Arlin Horton – Founder/President”
“Architect James Yates Bruce”
“PCC Enrollment 1988 – 2426”
“Exalt Jesus Christ.”
“The Lord is my Shepherd.”
“His mercy endureth forever.”
“Jesus Christ lives forevermore.”
“Jesus shall reign.”
“His name shall be called”
“Wonderful, Counselor,”
“The mighty God,”
“The Prince of Peace. Isa. 9:6”
“For God so loved the world,”
“He gave His only begotten Son,”
“To die in our place.”
“Hallelujah what a Saviour!”
“Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”

Women’s Parking Garage

A fast-growing student body meant more cars, which meant campus needed more parking. In 1989, the parking garage was completed, providing 335 spaces for vehicles. Since there were no cars parked on the north side, female students could use this area as a sun deck until the Sports Center was opened.

Campus House

Campus House provided an affordable hotel for parents bringing their children to college and for guests visiting campus. The first guests were welcomed on Labor Day weekend of 1990. Originally, 70 rooms were available for guests at a rate of $35 per night. Mr. Gerald Lefmann has been the manager of the Campus House since its opening.

Bradley Tower

Bradley Tower was named in honor of Mrs. Quirey Bradley. She was a part of the prayer group that met every month in the YMCA to pray for God to raise up a Christian school in the Pensacola area. She was also a charter member of the Board of Directors for Pensacola Christian School, serving 1953–1974. When the building was dedicated in August 1991, it was the tallest building on campus with 10 stories. To give you an idea of the mammoth size of the residence hall, the construction engineers provided these figures:
  • 150,000 total square feet
  • 465,500 bricks
  • 382,593 square feet of wall covering
  • 14,000 square yards of carpeting
  • 2,025 light fixtures
  • 1,900 doors
  • 694 windows
  • 313 sinks
  • 3 elevators

The front doors opened into a large two-story lobby with marble floors, skylights, and a grand staircase leading to the first floor. The campus health center was moved from Coberly North to the new spacious Health Center on the ground floor. In 1992, the Health Center was renamed the Graf Clinic in honor of Dr. George Graf. His association with the College started in the early years by donating time to seeing students and staff on campus. He also donated all the medical equipment and furniture to that first health center located off Ballard lobby.

Rebekah Horton Library

With potential seating for 1,600 students and shelving for up to 450,000 volumes, the Rebekah Horton Library opened in June 1992. The library staff spent the summer moving books from the third and fourth floors of the Academic Center to the new facility. The 68,000-square-foot library was the final building to join the Administration building, Academic Center, and Field House complex. In the center of the library was an atrium housing a water fountain and a beautiful two-story chandelier in the center of the two stair towers.

Water Tower

With the continued growth of the PCC campus, Escambia County needed another water tower to provide increased water pressure for college buildings. Branded with the College acronym and palm tree logo, the new tower was put into use in 1992. It stands 150 feet high, making it a landmark on the Pensacola horizon. It holds 1,000,000 gallons of water with a total weight when full of over 10,000,000 pounds—the equivalent of over 1,000 elephants!

Rawson Chapel

In 1992, PCC purchased a church building adjacent to campus on Rawson Lane. After extensive renovations, the buildings became the Rawson Chapel and Fellowship Hall. The Chapel was used for orchestral and choral concerts, senior music and speech recitals, and many weddings.

In 2011, further renovations were made, including the addition of covered walkways, enhanced landscaping, and updated interiors. A classic style 3-manual pipe organ was installed similar to those in major concert halls. Renowned organist, composer, and organ designer, Thomas Helms, helped PCC improve the instrument’s quality by adding additional pipes, a harp rank, and a French-style center principal, which was custom built in Ohio by America’s finest pipe builder. In May of 2015, the name of the Rawson Chapel was changed to Mullenix Chapel to honor Dr. Joel Mullenix who retired that year.

Arlin R. Horton Sports Center

One of the most eagerly awaited facilities on campus was the Sports Center. Opening three months ahead of schedule on February 19, 1993, students had access to activities on the 1st floor including an ice-skating rink, racquetball/walleyball courts, miniature golf, weight rooms, a wrestling room, and a 12-lane bowling alley. The Eagles Basketball team did not play their first game in the Sports Center until November 12, 1993, with seating in the arena for 3,100 Eagles fans.

In 2008, Mrs. Horton changed the name to Arlin R. Horton Sports Center with the addition of the Annex. In the extra 216,000 square feet, the Annex provided modern athletic, sports, and recreational facilities: rock climbing with 40 ft. and 60 ft. walls, rappelling ledges, and a climbing boulder. It also included an indoor water park with 3 water slides, the Double FlowRider surfing wave, and inline skating track.

The Palms Grille

The fall of 1993 brought a new fast-food restaurant to the PCC campus called The Palms Grille. Located in the Commons, students considered it a “dream come true.” It offered a delicious variety—from French toast or biscuits at breakfast to pizza, cheeseburgers, nachos, and more throughout the day. With a splashing fountain and umbrella-topped tables, The Palms Grille provided a relaxing environment for students after a busy day.

As part of the Commons renovations in 2016, The Palms Grille dining area was expanded and a patio was added. The dining complex was renamed The Palms and includes The Grille, Papa John Pizza, and added in 2019, Chick-fil-A.

Young Tower

Young Tower opened in August 1995 with 140,000 square feet. Of the 272 rooms, 210 were student rooms that for the first time all had private bathrooms plus a sink and mirror in the main room. Another unique feature of the building was its fourteen soundproof music practice rooms and small apartments with kitchenettes for staff. Young Tower bears the namesake of the late William F. Young, who faithfully served on the board of directors of Pensacola Christian School from 1963 to 1969.

MacKenzie Building

In 1996, the new MacKenzie building opened with an August dedication. It was built on the site where the old MacKenzie had stood from 1972 until 1994. The original building was used for kindergarten classes and was converted for college use in 1980. The new, six-story 200,000-square-foot building housed nursing, language arts, engineering, chemistry, and physics classrooms, along with faculty offices. The ground floor included a large banquet hall that could be divided into six lecture rooms with portable stages, a church nursery, and preschool Sunday school rooms. On November 4, 2000, the state-of-the-art planetarium and observation deck was finished and opened, showing The Heavens Declare.

The MacKenzie building was named after Mrs. Gertrude MacKenzie, who served as a charter board member of Pensacola Christian School from 1953 to 1972.

Cogeneration Plant

Providing electrical power for a growing campus is quite a challenge. To meet this need, PCC opened a combined cogeneration facility and engineering laboratory in 1988, the first of its kind in the nation. The 13,000 square foot cogeneration plant, located across the street from the Dale Horton Auditorium, was designed to provide energy for the entire campus. In addition to producing electricity, the facility heated and cooled water used for residence halls, air conditioning, and on-campus facilities—even the Swim Center. By owning and operating its own power plant, PCC reduced its reliance on local utility companies and initially saved an estimated $400,000 per year!

The mechanical engineering students also benefited from the cogeneration plant. The noise level was quiet enough to allow classes to be conducted in rooms around the main engine room, and the specially designed “student panel” in the mechanical engineering laboratory gave them hands-on experience and allowed them to monitor the entire energy production process.

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