Stark Learning Center

Agnes Flood Walking Tour

Learn more about the buildings and locations that were most affected by the historic Hurricane Agnes flood with the Remembering Agnes walking tour.


Stark Hall and Stark Learning Center were named after Admiral Harold Raynsford Stark.
Photo of Admiral Harold Raynsford Stark
Admiral Harold Raynsford Stark

Stark was a commander of the U.S. Navy during World War I and World War II and a Wilkes College Board of Trustees member from 1947 through 1964, chairing the trustees from 1959-1964. The property originally housed Denison, Warner, Ashley, Barre, and Butler halls, but these dormitories were demolished to give way to the vision of a new science and learning building.

Stark Hall was built in 1957, however as the college grew, more space was needed for science classes, so plans were put in place to construct an addition to Stark Hall, which would be called, “Stark Learning Center.” Construction was underway in 1971 as the center was designed to incorporate all science majors, however, plans were halted when Hurricane Agnes flooded the building.

The Impact of Agnes

Men shoveling debris outside of Stark Hall

Debris bring shoveled outside of Stark Hall.

The physics and engineering departments, which had expanded to offer the M.S. degree in physics and the B.S. degree in materials and electronics engineering and environmental science, were completely flooded and experienced severe damage to laboratory and scientific equipment.

With the assistance of Thomas Kelly, the director of development for the college, President Michelini visited private companies and other organizations in order to fundraise for money to resume the construction of the center. It ultimately cost Wilkes seven million dollars to complete due to inflation. The building was constructed and dedicated on October 11, 1975. Stark Learning Center continues to be an edifice for innovation and leading edge research in the sciences to this day.

Stark Hall machine shop before Hurricane Agnes
Before the Flood
Stark Hall machine shop after Hurricane Agnes
After the Flood

View More Photos of the Hurricane Agnes Flood external website

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