Thomas Hall opened in 1964 as an all-male residence hall with a capacity of 488 beds. The building was comprised of two residential wings, with four floors on each side. The main level held offices, front desk operations, a community lounge, and dining facilities. The total construction cost of Thomas Hall was $2.4 million. The campus was continuing to grow, and residential living was becoming a popular trend both nationally and on EIU’s campus. This lead to the funding of residence hall construction through the sale of revenue bonds. Thomas Hall was the first of four halls in the South Quad to be built with such funding.
After opening, Thomas Hall was the center of controversy based on student complaints about the physical structure. Students complained of bulletin boards coming unglued from the walls in the rooms, frequent false fire alarms from water leaking into the fire alarm system, and the portico on the front entrance having to be replaced. These issues were addressed and forgotten by the opening of the next academic year. Still, many joked that Thomas would be destroyed by its near 500 male occupants in a short amount of time.
Thomas residents enjoyed amenities including a large, color TV, spacious lounges, and a dining hall in the building. At the time, Thomas housed the most residents out of all the residence halls on campus. The unique bond between the male residents of Thomas Hall and female residents of Andrews Hall was long standing. Combined they planned sweetheart dances and collaborated to build homecoming floats. Thomas Hall has since recently become a coed building with alternating male and female floors.