The move from the old Pioneer Theatre and Northup Library was accomplished in record time and both facilities are open and ready for the fall semester which begins with orientation Aug. 30-Sept. 2. A community open house on Friday, Sept. 5, from 4 to 6 p.m. will be the first major public event for the new facilities. A brief program will be held at 4:30 p.m., followed by tours and light refreshments.
The actual construction on the $12.2 million project began just 15 months ago. It is the most ambitious in Linfield's history in terms of size and cost and the largest single project of the college's current capital campaign "Linfield The Defining Moment."
At 56,000 square feet, the Jereld R. Nicholson Library has more than doubled the space of Northup Library and combines traditional collections of books and journals with the new and changing digital and electronic technology to provide access to the web and web-based databases.
"The Nicholson Library symbolizes Linfield's investment in the life of the mind for its community of faculty and students," said Susan Barnes Whyte, library director. "The overall design emphasizes flexibility, comfort, space and ease of use."
Seating for up to 500 students in both individual and group study rooms will relieve the acute shortage that existed in the previous facility. Some 35 computer work stations will be available for patrons, compared with 15 in Northup. All of the public spaces in the library have wireless access to the campus network, the Internet and the World Wide Web. The new Educational Media Services area will have a soundproof viewing room, storage space, individual listening and viewing booths, a media production lab, a satellite down-link, carrels and a large viewing room with multimedia capabilities and Internet access.
Jereld R. Nicholson was a 1939 Linfield alumnus and a lifetime supporter of the college. He left a generous bequest to the college in 2003.
After a fire destroyed Linfields theatre and music building in 1969, the colleges theatre program was "temporarily" divided among four separate buildings, producing its plays in cramped quarters carved out of Pioneer Hall. With the completion of Kenneth W. Ford Hall, the Department of Theatre and Communication Arts is physically reunited in a state-of-the-art teaching, learning and performance facility.
"This new facility fills some of the Department of Theatre and Communication Arts' long-standing needs and improves the efficiency by accommodating all of the department faculty and staff in one building," said Brenda DeVore Marshall, department chair. "The building provides a space for students to gather and for informal interaction between faculty and students, which will have a positive impact on the learning that occurs outside of the classroom."
The Marshall Theatre is a flexible studio theatre with a seating capacity of up to 140, double that of Pioneer Theatre. By using movable risers, the theatre itself will accommodate staging in three configurations: the classic proscenium or end theatre, with the audience facing the stage; theatre-in-the-round; and "thrust" staging, with the audience on three sides.
An area off the lobby can be used for gatherings, classes and small performances such as readings. A design classroom will be open to students 24 hours a day. A forensics lab will have filing space, computer terminals and rehearsal space for speech and debate teams and it will double as a small classroom. State-of-the-art construction and design spaces are also included in the new building.
Kenneth W. Ford was a long-time benefactor of Linfield College and a member of the Board of Trustees from 1962 to 1995. Barbara and Wendell Marshall and members of their family have been supporters of the college for many years and through their generosity have helped make the colleges new library and theatre a reality.
The new facilities were remodeled out of a former Hewlett-Packard manufacturing building, which Linfield acquired from HP through a gift/purchase agreement. They are the second phase of an Arts Quadrangle planned in that area. The James F. Miller Fine Arts Center opened in 2001. A music building will complete the quadrangle, once funding is in place.