TCU students try to navigate famously confusing Sid W. Richardson building

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TCU students struggle to get to classes in the science building. This advice could help.

Infamous for confusing un-suspecting students, the Sid W. Richardson Building chews up first-year students and spits them right back out. With its low ceilings, long hallways, and twisting staircases, it’s easy to see why. (See the Hogwarts moving staircases from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series for reference). 

“The numbers (in reference to the building’s office and classroom numbers) don’t make sense,” said Dr. Michael Pelch, an assistant professor of professional practice in the geology department. “It has a look that you shouldn’t be here… like the back hallway of a hospital.” 

The building, which connects to neighboring Winton-Scott Hall, was constructed in 1970 and named after a well-known oil and ranching tycoon from Fort Worth. The architect is said to have modeled the building based on a Scottish castle. 

For many science majors, it is easy to get used to this building. However, for first-year students and those non-science majors who do not have many classes there, it can remain a difficult challenge throughout their college years. 

“I had a professor freshman year … On the first day of class she took us on a walk to find her office because there’s no way we would have found it otherwise,” said Courtney Parks, a sophomore biology student. 

Parks’ advice to students is to use elevators and vending machines as reference points.

Leaving for class 20 minutes early has helped Sally Ho, a junior psychology student, navigate through Sid W. Richardson.  

“When you go upstairs,” said Ho, “it’s very confusing.”

And if these tips don’t work, don’t worry. Getting lost in Sid Richardson is a rite of passage for all TCU students.  

Good luck. 

Note: This story was first published on March 15, 2021. We brought it back for the return of fall classes.

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