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High Rise: The tallest building on campus

Opened in 1968, the tallest building on Lipscomb University’s campus at the time, was a luxury.

According to a 1967 edition of the Babbler, James Holt was the one who built High Rise. Holt was a well-known contractor in Nashville whose company worked on notable projects like the old Grand Ole Opry (not the Rhyman), the Original Public Library, and the St. Henry Catholic Church.

Saint Henry Church (Nashville, Tennessee) – exterior
St. Henry Church (Nashville, Tennessee) – nave, panorama
Grand Ole Opry, Nashville, Tennessee Ken Lund from Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

High Rise couldn’t have been built by Holt at a better time, either.

Elam Hall, now a girls’ dorm, was the only guys’ dorm on campus at the time. The university knew that High Rise was being constructed, so they didn’t do any renovations to Elam until all the guys had moved out.

Three guys to a room, one desk, and one little clothes rack. Jim Thomas, Lipscomb University alum, said Elam was in “survival mode” until the guys moved out.

Thomas and his buddies moved into High Rise in the fall quarter of 1968, back when Lipscomb was still in the quarter system. “Most of us had been living in Elam Hall, at that time, and it was way overcrowded.”

Carpeted hallways, two people to a room, two beds, two dressers, and its own sink.

“It was like a luxury hotel,” Thomas said.

Back then, students would actually go up on the roof and hang out. Thomas said they would go up there to sun tan, do homework or get whatever they needed to get done while sitting on top of an 8-story building.

Times have definitely changed since then, and some might say that High Rise has lost its luxury, but the tallest livable building on campus will forever be a Lipscomb staple.