Having now visited a good number of universities, I have made an observation that plenty of others have also made: Why are so many Economics departments housed in such lousy facilities? Ugly buildings, run-down, even inappropriate facilities, smelly restrooms, antiquated seminar rooms, dark hallways, 1950's or 1960' architecture, etc. While there are universities that are generally in bad shape, Economics departments surprisingly often get one of the worst draws on campus for their quarters, as long as they are not part of a business school. In the latter case, the situation is completely reversed.
So why are Economics departments that are not part of business schools so badly housed. My hypothesis is that economists really do not care. They are too obsessed with their work to notice where they are. They are all about efficiency, and a fresh coat of paint does not make a difference in that respect. Compared to other departments, it is also surprising to find how little economists bicker to obtain the best offices on the floor. It is just not that important. We achieve prestige in other ways, like a very competitive labor market. And this is where Deans allocate their money to.