Westmont Magazine A Masterful Plan at Work
Phyllis Marble, Steve Stong, Stephen Adams, Denise Adams and Gayle Beebe break ground on Adams Center for the Visual Arts.
Westmont officials broke ground on two new buildings Oct. 23, the first significant construction on the campus in 24 years. Trustees and other college dignitaries wielded gold shovels to turn dirt at the sites for the Adams Center for the Visual Arts and Winter Hall for Science and Mathematics.
The construction signifies the start of the first phase of the college’s Master Plan, which adds 166,000 square feet to the campus while maintaining more than 90 acres of landscaping or open space.
“This is an historic celebration for Westmont,” President Gayle D. Beebe said. “Our students will benefit directly from the enhanced educational experience they’ll receive in these new facilities.”
The ceremony coincided with the annual October meeting of the Westmont Board of Trustees, who participated in the festivities. Exactly three weeks later — and one day after the college pulled permits for Adams Center and Winter Hall — the Tea Fire erupted on campus and accom-plished some demolition work ahead of schedule. Three of the burned structures, the two Quonset huts and the old math building, had been slated for removal.
Despite the damage done by the fire, the Master Plan construction will continue without interruption or loss of time. Building on campus will simply be more extensive than originally expected and will follow two parallel tracks.
The Adams Center, providing classrooms, studios and offices north of Porter Theatre, has been designed with natural ventilation and lighting. Two pavilions sit on the landscaped roof of the main level, while the east pavilion houses the gallery and gallery reception area. A computer graphics lab and ceramics and sculpture studios and work areas occupy the street level.
Winter Hall, north of the Murchison Gym complex, will house offices, classrooms and laboratories for mathematics, computer science, physics and psychology. The top level has three office areas around a central atrium, one for each department. The offices are clustered around lounges designed for individual and group study. Each lounge opens on to a landscaped roof deck. Undulating Santa Barbara sandstone walls surround the middle level.
Mathematics professor Russ Howell also spoke at the groundbreaking and recalled being assured 19 years ago that Westmont would complete a new academic building by 1993. “We are keenly aware of the enormous costs involved leading up to this day,” he said. “How appropriate that one new building is to be called Winter Hall for Science and Mathematics, for President Winter was among the first to realize the pressing need for such a facility. We owe him and his wife, Helene, much gratitude for their tireless efforts not only in fundraising, but also in working with the county of Santa Barbara through the countless hurdles in getting approval for this project.”