Centre's campus transformations
January 28, 2010 By Leigh Ivey
Center, is bright, airy and spacious.
The Norton Center for the Arts was completely refurbished in
2009. The new venue has "just enough class to make you feel like
you're on Broadway and just enough character to let you feel
the uniqueness that is Centre College," Chase Warner '10 says.
Last fall, Tiger Turf was installed in Farris Stadium, home of the
Colonels football team. An entirely new red polyethylene track
surrounds the turf, and a new pole vault, long jump and triple
jump pits, and high jump and javelin pads have been installed.
Much has changed on Centre College's campus in the past few years.
Alumni and friends of the College who return to campus after several years away are often astonished by the transformations. While much that is familiar remains, Centre has acquired new dimensions of scale and architectural consistency.
Perhaps the biggest change at Centre is the new Campus Center, which opened its doors in October 2009.
Standing where the original Cowan Dining Commons once was, the remarkable 50,000 square foot facility is home to the new Cowan, a grille/snack bar, the Student Life Office, conference rooms, a game room (complete with flat-screen, high-definition televisions, Wii systems, pool and ping-pong tables and more), socializing spaces, fireplaces and much more.
Associate Dean of the College and professor of chemistry Dr. Keith Dunn believes that the opening of the Campus Center was the most newsworthy event of the past year. "That building has completely transformed our everyday campus lives like few other occurrences can," he says.
Alumni returning for Homecoming 2009 were eager to tour Centre's newest facility, and all were dazzled.
"I couldn't wait to come back to campus for Homecoming to see the completed Campus Center," Louisville native Emily Boyle '09 says. "I was really impressed by all of the campus improvements. The current and future students are lucky to have such new and beautiful facilities."
Across Main Street from the Campus Center is Pearl Hall, a 146-bed residence facility that opened in 2008. The building has been certified LEED Gold for its environmentally friendly design and construction. Built with a gift from Centre trustee and board chair Robert Brockman '63, the hall is named in memory of Brockman's mother and grandmother, both of whom were named Pearl.
Though it is currently under construction, Young Hall is another building that will radically change the lives of the Centre community. A two-story addition will add 40,000 square feet to the facility, which will house the psychology, psychobiology, biology and biochemistry and molecular biology programs, as well as the synthetic (organic and inorganic) chemists.
Once completed, Young will be home to not only additional classrooms but also new research labs, collaborative work areas, expanded animal facilities and more.
In 2009, Centre's Norton Center for the Arts, an internationally recognized performing arts center, underwent a major refurbishment. The facility emerged an even more spectacular venue for the series of world-class performances held on its stage every year.
Past performances in Newlin Hall, Norton’s large concert auditorium, include concerts by Pat Green, Ben Folds, the Beach Boys, Three Dog Night, Dolly Parton and Vince Gill; musicals such as Rent, Hairspray, Grease and Annie Get Your Gun; dance performances by Mikhail Baryshnikov and Twyla Tharp; and classical music performances by orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic. The venue was also the site of the 2000 vice-presidential debate between Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman.
The Norton Center's smaller venue, Weisiger Theater, also recently underwent an extensive refurbishment. Inside 360-seat theater in the round, new individual seats were installed, and the interior now features a rich and formal color scheme of maroon seats and grey carpeting and walls.
"Having been a long-time fan of the shows and performances in both Weisiger and the Norton Center, it's exciting to see that the theaters are now truly ideal venues for the professional events that take place in them," senior Chase Warner of Lexington, Ky., says. "The venues have just enough class to make you feel like you're on Broadway and just enough character to let you feel the uniqueness that is Centre College."
Several athletic facilities have recently been renovated as well. Installation of Tiger Turf in Farris Stadium, home of the Colonels football team, was completed in the fall of 2009. Surrounding the new turf field is an entirely new red polyethylene track. A new pole vault, long jump and triple jump pits, and high jump and javelin pads were also installed last year.
Nearby, the Gary Wright Baseball Field underwent a total renovation as well. With laser grading of the field, the installation of an irrigation system, an outfield warning track and artificial turf in front of each dugout, the field is ready for spring play.
As project after project moves to completion, Centre continues to improve. Prospective students, as well as alumni and friends of the College, are encouraged to come see the changes for themselves. For more information about visiting Centre, click here.