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[Pacific Lutheran Scene]

Cover Story

$5-million project starts on campus

Facts about the renovation of Xavier Hall
Kresge Foundation challenge grant supports Xavier renovation
Memories of Xavier Hall: "the wonderful light in the reading room"
Help Xavier's rebirth

Xavier Hall is vacant and about to be reborn. A $5 million renovation project began in early September that includes $3.5 million for construction and $1.5 million for an endowment to support academic programs and technology in the facility.

[photo] Xavier Hall
Xavier Hall was built in 1937 and named for John Xavier, who was PLU president in 1920-21.

The renovation will focus on interior remodeling and expanding the existing four classrooms, lecture hall and laboratory to nine classrooms, a new anthropology laboratory, and the new Philip Nordquist Lecture Hall. Faculty office space also will be renovated. Formerly the university Library, Xavier Hall, was built in 1937.

At the end of May, Xavier Hall residents boxed textbooks, memorabilia, computers and office furniture, in preparation to vacate the building. While the 63-year-old structure is gutted and remodeled during the next year, personnel of the Division of Social Sciences will share quarters in Eastvold with KPLU and the theater department.

This spring, the Board of Regents authorized the start of the renovation. Work began in September and completion is expected by June 4, 2001.

Partial funding has been received from the Ben B. Cheney Foundation ($100,000), the Florence Kilworth Foundation ($30,000), the William Kilworth Foundation ($30,000), and the Kresge Foundation ($500,000), and from several individual donors. The remainder will come from alumni and friends of the university through the current Campaign for Pacific Lutheran University: The Next Bold Step.

The original construction of Xavier Hall was funded with donations from Pierce County Lutherans, Tacoma residents and businesses, as well as a $10,000 donation from J. Philip Weyerhaeuser Jr. Although not fully completed until the late 1940s, the building was dedicated in May 1939.

[photo] The interior of Xavier Hall is gutted in preparation for extensive remodeling.
The interior of Xavier Hall is gutted in preparation for extensive remodeling.

Over the years, many "Lutes" have been inspired by its ambiance-its wooden floors, the cathedral ceiling, and the handsome windows. In 1965, however, a new library was needed.

After Mortvedt Library was ready for occupancy, the Division of Social Sciences moved into Xavier. Anthropology, economics, history, political science, psychology, sociology and social work were housed there.

For the past 37 years, history Professor Philip Nordquist '56 has had an office in Xavier.

"Life's surprises depend on the choices you make," he said, earlier this year. "I found myself housed in the building where I spent a lot of my undergraduate years. At that time, I had no idea that it would become my career."

Facts about the renovation of
Xavier Hall

Xavier Structural Improvements
•  Meet all building and system codes
•  Earthquake reinforcement
•  New ventilation/air conditioning system

Benefits of the Xavier Renovation
•  Seminar rooms for smaller classes
•  Room for large classes and conferences
•  More accessible for disabled students
•  More professor and student interaction
•  Access to new technology

Xavier Renovation Goals
•  Preserve historic exterior
•  Restore the grandeur of the former
   Reading Room

•  Restore the bay windows
•  New archeology and anthropology laboratory
•  New collaborative learning spaces
•  Incorporate modern technology with smart
   classrooms, computers, and
   satellite downlinks

When the regents announced that more than $1 million had been raised toward the lecture hall's renovation, they also said that it would be named in honor of Nordquist.

"It will be one of most handsome rooms on campus," Nordquist said. "I'm honored to have it named for me."

The building's exterior will remain the same but nine new classrooms, a map room and a lab will be created from four existing classrooms and a lab. Xavier also will become accessible to the disabled. Skylights will be installed on the third floor and 'the rabbit warren of offices' will be eliminated," said Ann Kelleher, professor of political science. Classrooms also will be re-wired for computer-based instruction.

"We're looking forward to a bright future," she continued, "retaining the best of what we do, and adapting to the new technology available.

"The building will be transformed from its historic past," Kelleher summarized, "enabling us to move toward a new level of academic quality and service to the university."

Kresge Foundation challenge grant supports Xavier renovation

[photo] A section of Xavier Hall.
A section of Xavier Hall.

A $500,000 challenge grant from The Kresge Foundation will help fund the renovation component of the $5 million Xavier Hall improvement project.

"Thanks to the generous support of the Kresge Foundation, we are able to begin rebuilding a landmark in the core of our campus that serves the core of our curriculum," said PLU President Loren J. Anderson. "Xavier Hall is more than a 63-year-old structure that will be transformed into a teaching facility appropriate for the decades ahead.

"It is a fitting first step in the campaign to achieve our vision for PLU's second century."

Help Xavier's rebirth
Your gift in support of the Xavier Hall revitalization project will inspire students and faculty and enhance the academic vitality of the university, by helping to maintain an architecturally distinctive facility that is central to the liberal arts core-the heart of the PLU curriculum.

Xavier project naming opportunities include:
• Lecture hall (reserved)
• Three faculty office wings
• 38 faculty offices (one reserved)
• Anthropology laboratory (reserved)
• Two “smart” classrooms (one reserved)
• Seminar room with bay window (reserved)
• Two seminar rooms (both reserved)
• Dean’s office suite
• Map room (reserved)

For more information on the project to renovate Xavier Hall, contact the Office of Development at 1-800-826-0035 or 253-535-7177.

[photo] Xavier Hall

The Xavier restoration is one of three building projects that are part of the university's current $100-million Campaign for Pacific Lutheran University: The Next Bold Step, that will enhance the endowment fund, strengthen the Annual Fund and upgrade facilities. Eastvold Auditorium also will be restored and rebuilt and a new Center for Learning and Technology will be constructed.

The Kresge challenge requires the university to raise the final $1.5 million needed to fund the Xavier Hall project by June 1, 2001.

The Xavier revitalization committee is headed by honorary co-chairs Phil Nordquist '56 and Barbara Xavier Clark '40. Alumni and other friends of the university who are interested in assisting them in this important project should contact committee staff liaison Brian Hall, at 1-800-826-0035 or 253-535-7177.

Memories of Xavier Hall: "the wonderful light in the reading room"

[photo] Philip Nordquist
Philip Nordquist

By Philip Nordquist '56

I have spent nearly 40 years connected to Xavier Hall, first when it was the Library and I studied history and political science there and, then, in its classrooms and offices during my tenure as a faculty member. It has been a wonderful center for intellectual activity, political agitation, making friends and decisions about vocation and life.

First built in 1937, the building is now down on its heels and as a result the activities that go on there are more constrained than they should be. I hope all who have powerful memories of the Library (1937-67) and Xavier Hall (1967-00)-the mysteries discovered in the stacks, the wonderful light in the reading room, lectures in X-201, conferences in offices and hallways-will be generous in the campaign to prepare the building for the 21st century.


[photo] The old reading room in Xavier Hall in 1950
The old reading room in Xavier Hall in 1950, when it was the university Library.

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