In 1954, a bond issue to fund the creation of a new campus for the Rhode Island College of Education passed, affording the institution $3,500,000 to begin construction.  Development began in 1956, and the college dedicated its six new buildings two years later. The six original buildings- Alger Hall, Craig-Lee Hall, Henry Barnard School, Whipple Gymnasium, Robe1ts Hall, and a Student Center – were designed by the Rhode Island from of Howe, Prout, and Ekman Architects and built by the E. Turgeon Construction Company.
Shortly after construction was complete, the college’s swelling population began to test the limits of its new campus. The first residence hall , named for Mary Tucker Thorp, was erected in 1961. By 1962, a large dining complex named for Fred J. Donovan h ad been completed, and a year later the library moved out of the Student Center and into its own building. 1963 also saw the construction of the John Clarke Science Building. As the college continued to expand, it enticed out-of-state students with the construction of additional residence halls named for Mary Weber (1965), Rose Butler Browne (1969), and Charles Willard (1971 ).  Later residences would be built in 1991 (David E. Sweet) and 2007(yet unnamed). As the college expanded and enrollment grew, additional classroom buildings were constructed. William C. Gauge Hall (1966, originally called Horace Mann Hall) and Fogarty Life Science (1975) provided needed classroom space. The construction of the present Student Union in 1966 preceded the transformation of the original Student Center into the Art Center classrooms.
Additions to the campus have been consistent over time and continue today, with buildings like the John Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts (2000) and extensive renovations to existing buildings. Most notably, the 1990s-2000s have seen significant alterations to existing buildings, transforming buildings like Alger Hall, originally designed in a sleek and simple mid-20th century style, into high tech centers for twenty-first century students. Additionally—with the 1990s acquisition of the Rhode Island State Home and School/ O’Rourke Center property that now composes the East Campus — the college significantly expanded, adding another group of flat-roofed mid-century modern buildings to its stock. These buildings, along with the original campus buildings like Alger Hall, have also been targets for significant facade redesigns. Overall, the clear trajectory of construction and reconstruction on the campus reflects the priorities of changing times, from an optimistic postwar 1950s, to uncertainty and challenges to tradition in the 1970s, and an attempt to reassess the campus and create smart and sustainable buildings in the 2000s.