Although it is a small building, the Jones Center is significant for its role in Nevada education, for its association with its architect, Frederic DeLongchamps, and for its part in the unity of Clarence Mackay's master plan for the University campus. The library had outgrown its limited space in Morrill Hall, and there was a plan to build a new library and administration building in the form of a large rotunda, to replace Morrill Hall at the head of the campus Quad, but funding was not available. To address the problem, the building that became the Jones Center was constructed in 1914 to be a temporary library. The noted Reno architect Frederic DeLongchamps was to design a building that was "conservative but pure to harmonize with the other new buildings of the Campus." The result was the only single-level building on campus, a simple, small, brick rectangle with limestone decorative elements. Its location on the Quad conformed to Mackay's campus plan.

The proposed administration/library building was never funded, so this small building continued to serve as an ever-more crowded campus library until an unexpected and generous gift resulted in the construction of the spacious Alice McManus Clark Memorial Library in 1927.

Through the years, this building has served as the "Hall of English," the Department of Journalism (1947-1967), and as home to the Bureau of Business and Economic Research. It became the Jones Visitor Center in 1983, named after philanthropists Clarence K. and Martha H. Jones, who funded its renovation. Currently, it houses University Communications as well as members of the Divisions of Human Resources and Institutional Analysis, and offices for school relations and career planning. Displays about university history, research, and programs are exhibited in the lobby.