With the end of World War II, Michigan State University came up against a challenge the college had never contended with before: married students coming in droves, looking
for an education with the help of the G.I. Bill. Veterans, often with wives and children, were done with their service and were enrolling in schools across the United States in great numbers. This could have presented MSU with a serious housing problem, but the college was prepared for this influx of students due mainly to President Hannah’s foresight. Due to the fact that he was working with a limited amount of time, Hannah arranged for a village of temporary housing units, called Quonset huts, to be installed on campus in 1945.
Hannah organized space for these huts on 30 acres of campus land that was previously a poultry plant. Where today stand married housing facilities and university apartments, in 1945 stood 104 prefabricated steel Quonsets. The structures were brought in from towns around Michigan where they had originally been constructed as emergency war housing, and they were placed next to the Michigan State Police Headquarters. Many of the Quonsets were for families, but some of the buildings were also communal housing with common areas and bunks that would sleep up to fourteen men. In addition, the village had a series of larger huts to accommodate a cafeteria.
The Quonset village is among the many buildings and facilities that no longer exist on MSU’s campus, only this was indeed a very real village, as can be seen from its aerial photographs. Within five years, permanent dormitories were being built to accommodate the growing student population. It took several years for permanent facilities to catch up with the space provided by the Quonset Village, but once they did the Quonset huts were deconstructed and plans were begun to construct the permanent married housing units, which are still in use today on the same site.