Known by many names since opening in 1908, Felix Haas Hall has a long and storied history.
Originally known as Memorial Gymnasium, the building was built as a memorial to the football players, students and alumni who died in the famous 1903 Purdue train wreck. The football team was traveling south to face Indiana University on Oct. 31 when the train collided with a coal train in Indianapolis, killing 17 people, 11 of whom were football players. W.J. Jones of the U.S. Agricultural Experimental Station at Purdue suggested that a gymnasium be built as a memorial to those who lost their lives. The building has 11 steps, a landing and six more steps representing those who perished.
In 1985, the building was remodeled to accommodate the Department of Computer Science. Renovations included faculty and graduate student offices, laboratories for undergraduate and graduate students and research laboratories
In 2006, Lawson Computer Science Building was completed, prompting the renaming of the Computer Science Building. The building was renamed for Felix Haas, former dean of the School of Science from 1962 to 1974 and university provost from 1974 to 1986. Haas was head of the Division of Mathematical Sciences until being appointed the first dean of the School of Science. Haas was also instrumental in the development of the Department of Computer Science at Purdue. After his retirement from the position of provost, he continued at Purdue as a professor emeritus, teaching classes without pay from 1991 to 2002 to relieve female instructors with young children of heavy teaching loads.
Today, Felix Haas Hall houses faculty offices, classroom space and laboratories for classes in various departments.