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Old Main to be rededicated for 21st century

October  04, 2013

Now that the renovation of Old Main is complete, 124 years after the college’s signature building was first dedicated after its construction in 1889, Augustana College is inviting the community to share in its rededication on Friday, Oct. 11, at 6 p.m. (3600 7th Ave.)

After a ceremony and comments from speakers including Augustana President Steven Bahls on the front steps on 7th Avenue, the historic building will be open to the public until 7:30 p.m. Some highlights of the renovation work include the soaring dome, two-story stained glass window, central staircase, and new audiovisual technology in the classrooms.

“All the ladders and paint buckets are gone, and the renovation work is spotless,” said Joe Scifo, director of facilities at Augustana.

The exterior restoration project involved replacing the roof, scrubbing and tuckpointing the massive stone walls, and adding a copper cladding to the dome that, when illuminated at night, is visible for miles. For more than a century, the building’s architecture has been so distinctive that it once served as a landmark for steamboat travelers on the Mississippi River.

It remains a landmark today for generations of students that have passed through its halls and classrooms, and millions of dollars were donated for the renovation by alumni, parents, friends and corporate donors, who will be recognized during the ceremony.

In addition to President Bahls, speakers will include Dr. Dorothy Parkander, a retired English professor who taught more than 40,000 students in Old Main during the course of her 49-year career and still maintains connections with many of them; Dr. Pareena Lawrence, chief academic officer of the college; Dr. Wendy Hilton-Morrow, associate professor of communication studies; and Dr. Richard Priggie, the campus chaplain.

Keri Rursch
Director of Public Relations
(309) 794-7721
kerirursch@augustana.edu