Academic Building Three

Academic Building Three

Academic Building Three (abbreviated as AB3 or ABIII) is a three-story facility at the northwest corner of Avenue J and Bowers Boulevard.

The building was the second men's gymnasium, replacing a nearby temporary frame building. The $600,000 structure had a seating capacity for 3,000 and "two regulation basketball courts, six handball courts, two boxing arenas, athletic classrooms and offices, and living quarters for the scholarship athletes [1]."

In September 1979, the building, then referred to as the Bearkat Den athletic dorm, opened its student housing to women [2].

SHSU planned to demolish the building after the Health and Kinesiology Center's construction and the consolidation of offices and classrooms found in both the men's and women's gymnasiums [4]. Instead, the building housed other program areas, including the Office of Graduate Studies and McNair Scholars Program.

In 1986, administrative offices, classrooms, and supply rooms for the Department of Military Science and Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) moved to the second and third floors.

In the mid-1980s, there was a push to have the names of buildings reflect the courses taught within them. Because physical education classes were taught elsewhere, SHSU renamed the building Academic Building Three [5]. Other buildings affected by this change were AB1 and AB2.

The Department of Dance began utilizing the building during the early 1990s, converting gymnasium floors into classrooms, studios, and the AB3 Dance Theatre. The department paid tribute to its long-time home during its Spring 2010 Dance Spectrum with a concert, retrospective costume show, and video presentation entitled "Life in AB3". The department moved to the Performing Arts Center later that fall.

SHSU utilized AB3 as a shelter during the mandatory evacuations from hurricanes Rita (2005) and Ike (2008), housing 206 evacuees in 2005 and members of the Houston Clearlake campus in 2008. In September 2004, SHSU said it would demolish the building before the decade's end [6]. The Fall 2009 edition of the SHSU Heritage magazine further confirmed its eventual demolition as part of the 2008 Campus Master Plan [7].

In 2010, SHSU announced the newly-formed Department of Nursing would occupy AB3 until the construction of the Nursing/Biological Sciences Building [8].



  • 1922 Avenue J

  • Building ID#: 00008


  • None


  • Wirtz, Calhoun, Tungate & Jackson


  • Schneider Construction Co. Inc.


  • 1956:

    • Constructed

  • 1981:

    • Last used for housing [3]

  • 1986:

    • ROTC moves to building

  • Oct. 1987:

    • Renamed AB3 [5]

  • 2005:

    • Used for Hurricane Rita evacuations

  • 2008:

    • Used for Hurricane Ike evacuations

  • Jan. 2010:

    • Used for Department of Nursing



  • [1] Alcalde (1956).

  • [2] "Women are in the Bearkat Den". Houstonian, September, 1979.

  • [3] SHSU: 2000, Campus Master Plan (1982).

  • [4] Alcalde (1984).

  • [5] "Building Names Becoming Generic". Houstonian (Oct. 22, 1987).

  • [6] President's Update (Sep. 14, 2004).

  • [7] Heritage magazine (Fall 2009).

  • [8] Department of Nursing