Campus tours at Pacific University are thorough in all regards baring one exception. On the typical route leaders take prospective students inside residence halls, the newly built library, Marsh hall, the Stoller Center, and a couple of other classroom settings. Two places students are never taken, unless they express a deep interest, are the arts facilities; Warner and Brown halls.
“We don’t go inside those buildings unless the student requests to,” said Sara Aasness, a junior at Pacific, who has been giving tours of the campus since September.
The university is struggling to put together arts facilities that are presentable to the public and useful to its students. According to University President Lesley Hallick, the money just isn’t there. Hallick said without donations the arts facilities are destined to remain the same for years to come.
When many people think of the performing arts at Pacific they think of Taylor-Meade auditorium. The building is in remarkable shape. What the majority of the public doesn’t understand is that only band and orchestra are permitted to use the facility.
“When I first came I assumed the Taylor-Meade Performing Arts Center was where we would perform,” said sophomore theatre major Kailea Saplan.
Students who participate in other performing arts such as theatre are limited to the use of the Tom Miles theatre, located inside Warner hall.
The university has had plans to rebuild or replace the buildings since the late 1980s, when Robert Duvall was the university president. Ideas for the remodel of the arts facilities have been built into two prior strategic plans and in a recent press conference, Hallick admitted the University was as far away from remodeling the facilities as it has ever been.
The money for the Tom Miles theatre located in Warner hall was donated from the Miles family in 1965 after their son, a Pacific University student, died in an automobile accident.
The facility has since deteriorated. The chairs are worn and creak. The stage is gouged from years of performances, and the lighting equipment is barely adequate for the level of shows Pacific attempts to put on, said senior Michael McGuire.
Dion MacDonald, who has performed in two major productions at Theatre In The Grove, said the facilities in Warner hall are in need of improvements.
“It has a funny smell to it,” he said.
Currently Hallick said she is in search of a donor for the facility.
“We have a long list of donor prospects, anyone who is an alum,” said Hallick. “There is obviously something we should do. We need a performing arts center.”
Director of Media Relations for the university, Joe Lang said the university is in constant contact with potential donors. Lang also explained that donations, unless specifically designated for a department, are lumped into a massive fund that goes to “the project at priority”.
“Right now the project at priority is the Hillsboro campus,” said Lang.
There is simply not enough space for art students in the current facilities. Hallick is still adamant she wants to increase the student population.
The last time Warner received a major upgrade was when the Tom Miles family donated the money for the theatre 48 years ago. Both Warner and Brown were annexed in 1947 from Camp Adair in Corvallis, Ore. According to campus archives, the last recorded date was listed as 1973.
With another ten-year plan set in place that doesn’t include remodeling the arts facilities, Pacific’s admissions office will have to find a new way to promote the arts facilities to prospective students, as giving tours of the buildings will still be limited.