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Hamersly Library

Building - Rice Auditorium (RA)

CONSTRUCTION DATES: Rice auditorium was built in 1976.

REMODEL: Information on any major renovation is unavailable.

CONSTRUCTION COMPANY: The general contractor for the project was CA Lantz Construction Company of Salem.

COSTS: Including furnishings, Rice Auditorium cost approximately $2 million.

ARCHITECTS AND BUILDING STYLE: The brick, stucco, and glass building was designed by Payne, Settecase, Smith and Partners of Salem.

CURRENT USES: Rice can seat 619 people in one of the state's finest mid-sized performance facilities. Major theater, dance, public speaking, and musical productions at the university are held in Rice Auditorium's 26,000 square feet.

HISTORY: Rice was built as a cultural entertainment center for Oregon College of Education and the towns of Monmouth and Independence. Rice was almost not built as lack of funding delayed the project in 1971. Due to budget constraints the art wing, balcony, and classrooms were never built. The building was required as the old theater facilities had been condemned as a fire hazard. Prior to the Little Theater, productions were staged in Campbell Hall, but the Columbus Day Storm of 1962 destroyed the South Wing which contained the stage facilities.

OTHER INTERESTING FACTS: Rice is home to the Smith Fine Arts Series, named after Edgar Smith. The series brings talented performers and audiences to the area each year. The theater is said to be the home of the ghost of George Harding, a former Western theater professor. Harding's ghost is friendly but loves to play with the lighting in the theater. Rice was named after former university president Leonard Rice who was instrumental in the project.


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