Thursday, September 9, 2010

New look, same spirit

Walking into College Hall just feels different these days. At first it’s very normal. Open the doors on the library side, steps down to the business office, steps to the right to Ramseyer Auditorium, steps up to the president’s and academic affairs offices.

But then something is different, the hallway goes on and on; and where is the stairway up to the classrooms and Learning Resource Center?

While renovations of the Burcky locker room and The Commons were taking center stage this summer, two other construction projects were quietly happening on campus that have changed the feel of two of Bluffton’s original academic buildings, College Hall and Musselman Library.

The College Hall addition includes restrooms on each floor, an elevator, stairs and storage areas. Work continues on landscaping and vestibules for a new elevator in Musselman Library which will make the 1930 building completely handicapped accessible.

As a student I spent a lot of time in College Hall. My first-ever college class was in College Hall 306- Cartooning with Ray “Sugar Ray” Hamman during the September mod. (Remember the mods? One class for one month - loved it!) What a great introduction to Bluffton – the class, the professor and the mod, but I digress.

In that same room I had my one and only class with the “Third Bren-Dell guys”- Stats with Ron Friesen. Ron would flip through a stack of index cards, picking a “random sample” of people to work problems on the blackboard. I’ll never forget the terror when my name came up in the random sample, of course for a homework problem that I hadn’t been able to solve. Luckily Gary Basinger was also in the class - “Gary, Help!”

Ah the memories of classes with Dale Dickey and Gene Caskey in the top floor; learning how to fold a fitted sheet in Speech class, being pulled out of my shell in Acting. Then there was building set and working stage crew in Ramseyer…

College Hall was the first building built on Bluffton’s campus in 1899. It was in front of College Hall that President Noah C. Hirschy said something like “The foundation has been laid; now let us expect great things.”

It is good to see improvements be made to College Hall, to know that like Bluffton this first building will continue to grow and evolve to meet the needs of all students now and in the future.

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