Belton, Texas – The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor will hold a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the new J.W. Williams Service Center on Friday, October 18 at 1:00 p.m. Located on the northeast edge of the campus across the railroad tracks at 800 Industrial Park Road, the center is the new home for the university’s Physical Plant department.
The 136,274-square-foot facility originally was built by Superior Chaircraft Corporation and was used as a manufacturing plant for office chairs sold by Superior Chaircraft and later izzydesign. The university purchased the property in 2012 and renovated the interior to create office spaces for the Physical Plant and Event Services departments. The building includes separate workspaces and storage for the Building Maintenance, Construction, Electro-Mechanical, Painting, Landscaping, Outdoor Sports Facilities, Metal Fabrication, and Housekeeping crews. Climate-controlled storage areas have been included to store items from the university’s museum and other university departments. The center also includes an indoor parking garage which can accommodate more than 60 fleet and service vehicles.
The service center is named in memory of Joseph W. Williams, who served as the university’s maintenance supervisor and college engineer from 1948 until his retirement in 1977. Williams began working on the campus in 1936 at the age of 23, as assistant to the chief engineer. In 1942, during World War II, he became an aircraft electrician and a civilian technician for the United States Air Force in England. Returning home, he worked at Kelly Field in San Antonio as a general foreman of the aircraft electrical branch and, later, as an electrical contractor in Bandera County until college officials asked him to return to Mary Hardin-Baylor in 1948. For the next three decades he supervised all plumbing, heating, electricity, carpentry, painting, and housekeeping on the campus.
The university’s original brick maintenance center was named in Williams’ honor in 1980. The UMHB Campus Master Plan, approved in 2011, called for the demolition of the old center and the relocation of the Physical Plant offices to the outer perimeter of the campus. The purchase and remodeling of the neighboring manufacturing facility made it possible for the school to bring the many activities of the Physical Plant under one roof, and administrators chose to transfer the J.W. Williams name to the new facility, in memory of his many years of service.
Mr. Williams’ two children, Janice Williams Autry of Kerrville, Texas, and D.W. “Tex” Williams of Marbleton, Wyoming, were in attendance and saw to the traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony. After a short program, the center was opened for tours.