Mérida, Yucatán — About 100 UADY staff this week began packing for new quarters.
They are making way for the Autonomous University of Yucatan’s Centro Cultural Universitario, or University Cultural Center, which will take over the fortress-like downtown campus.
At least five departments have been given three months to relocate to the former law school campus at Fracc. del Parque.
Two of three stories belonging to the 300-year-old landmark, which sits across from the Teatro Peón Contreras at Calle 60 and 57, will become a cultural center.
The remodeling will link the existing research library, the Felipe Carrillo Puerto Theater, exhibition halls and spaces for cultural and academic activities.
The project was first announced in 2016, although a budget for the combined state-university-INAH plan was not disclosed.
The central building has a rich history. On Dec. 31, 1613, Don Martín de Palomar died in the city of Mérida, leaving his house, land and 20,000 pesos for the construction of the school.
The first school on this corner, founded in 1711, was the Colegio de San Pedro. It closed in 1767 when its Jesuit founders were expelled from Spanish territories.
For 100 years, the building had various uses, mainly as offices and housing for government officials. It returned to educational use in 1867 when Manuel Cepeda Peraza signed a decree that marked the beginning of a state-run liberal arts college. In 1924, Gov. Felipe Carrillo Puerto created by decree the University of Yucatán, which took over the property.
It’s last major physical transformation began in 1938 and was unveiled in 1941, giving the building a more imposing feel. A third floor was added, and a corner entryway, designed by architect Enrique Gotdienner y Soto, used Chiluca stone from Querétaro.
With information from ACOM, Mérida en la Historia