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2010 News Releases

Jarman officially re-opens

October 8, 2010

Jarman Hall Ribbon Cutting From left: President Patrick Finnegan; Kathy Worster, vice president for administration and finance; Darlene Bratcher, director of Conferences and Scheduling; junior music major Danielle Minnick; Kevin Hooper, project manager for C.L. Lewis & Company Inc.; and Kim Bass, project manager for Capital Planning & Construction.

Jarman Hall, Longwood University's main performance venue for nearly six decades, officially re-opened Oct. 7 following an extensive renovation.

"Jarman Hall is not just essential to the Longwood community, but it is also essential to our friends in Farmville," President Finnegan said just before he and others cut a ceremonial ribbon in front of the building. "Not only will we once again be able to host our Chamber Music Series, student lectures and guest performers in this impressive new auditorium, but the local area will also be able to use it once again for graduations, dance recitals and children's theatre productions.

"As we have worked around not having the building for the past year, you could see how important this space is for Longwood, and I know that Conferences and Scheduling, especially, is delighted to have it back online for our 2010-2011 academic year. It is a beautifully renovated and acoustically sound facility that will be put to good use."

The renovation has significantly improved the capabilities and aesthetics of the facility. New lighting and sound fixtures have been added, interior finishes have been spruced up, and all of the mechanical and electrical systems, including the HVAC system, are new. In the past, the HVAC system, which was below the floor in the auditorium, was so noisy that it had to be turned off during performances. Outside the building there are new urns, planting beds and brick walkways and a new bus pull-off on High Street. The front façade has expanded glass panels, letting more light into the lobby, and a rear façade has been added with pilasters and a cornice, made of glass-fiber reinforced concrete, that mimic those on the front.

The auditorium, which was painted, now has 14 acoustical curtains lining the perimeter, which can be moved to control acoustics. The curtains are uplighted by scallop-shaped sconce lights mounted on the curtain pocket columns. New features in the auditorium include carpeting, custom wood around the stage, a tambour top in the back of the auditorium for controlling lighting and sound, and a forestage reflector in the ceiling in front of the stage (large sections of the plaster ceiling there were removed).

In the lobby, walls and wood panels were torn out and a reception desk with polish marble countertop was added. A new coatroom is behind that, and on either side of the lobby is a small room, called a "light and sound lock," that absorbs sound and light during performances. Though the metal parts of the seats in the auditorium were retained, all of the metal parts were painted and the armrests were refinished. New cushions covered with mohair fabric have replaced the old cushions.

In the prop room behind the stage, the metal roll-up door was replaced, and the elevator on the back was replaced by a window. A freight elevator was installed beside that window. Two large dressing rooms, nicknamed "diva rooms" and with attached bathrooms, have been added on the downstairs level, and the bathrooms adjacent to the lobby were upgraded. A new 1,050-square foot annex building on the Lancaster Hall side of Jarman contains most of the building's mechanical equipment, and some mechanical equipment occupies a small room above the stage that once housed the campus radio station. The limestone steps in front of the building were removed during the demolition phase of the project and were later re-installed.

Inside the renovated Jarman Auditorium
Inside the renovated Jarman Auditorium

Work on the project began in late September 2009. The general contractor was C.L. Lewis & Company Inc. of Lynchburg. Kim Bass of Longwood's Capital Planning & Construction was the project manager for the university, and Kevin Hooper was project manager for C.L. Lewis.

"It is now a top-notch, first-class facility in every way," Hooper said. "All of the lighting systems are new, and the sound system is new. The finishes in the building have remained but have been cleaned up and painted over. In essence, the building has gotten a paint job and a face-lift. The acoustical engineers tell me that the auditorium can be tuned to different performances, and, due to having oversized ductwork, which reduces velocity, there will be almost no noise through the mechanical systems."

Jarman was opened as an auditorium and music building in the fall of 1951. It is used for special events, theatrical and music productions, public lectures and other activities. Due to the renovation, there are now 1,049 seats in the auditorium, whereas before there were 1,065. The mainstage theatre for Longwood Theatre productions, the box office, and the Department of Communication Studies and Theatre, formerly in Jarman, are now in the Center for Communication Studies and Theatre.

Jarman Auditorium was used for Convocation on Sept. 9 after Longwood officials obtained a temporary occupancy permit from the state Bureau of Capital Outlay Management. Work on the auditorium, as well as landscaping in front of and around the building, was finished just hours before the ceremony.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony was followed by the president's annual welcome, held in Jarman Auditorium. In the welcome, President Finnegan announced a new award for faculty and staff, Unsung Heroes, which he described as a way to make employees "feel appreciated and recognized" despite tight financial resources that have precluded salary increases.

"There is one Army tradition I'm bringing to Longwood," he said. "Commanders and leaders can award what are called challenge coins for noteworthy achievements. So I have a president's coin that I'll use today and in the future to help recognize lots of you who have helped make Longwood a better place."

The initial recipients of the award were staff members Pinkey Baldwin (Facilities Management), Nancy Scruggs (Department of Health, Athletic Training, Recreation & Kinesiology, or HARK), Patti Wagner (Student Health & Wellness), Stacey Wilkerson (Office of the First Year Experience), and Lydia Williams (Greenwood Library), and faculty members Dr. Chuck Blauvelt (HARK), Dr. Alix Fink (Department of Biological & Environmental Sciences) and Dr. Abbey O'Connor (College of Business & Economics). They were nominated by their offices and departments.

President Finnegan asked faculty and staff to constantly remember the students. "The main purpose of our entire effort should be teach students well and to help them develop intellectually, socially, spiritually, morally and physically. Losing sight of this fundamental purpose is what leads to more problems on a campus than any other single factor."

"Life at an institution of higher education should be enjoyable for faculty, staff, and students," he continued. "It is not a grim business in which we are partners but a hopeful, buoyant one. A civil tone, pleasant atmosphere, and kindness should be hallmarks of the campus. Education is a happy and joyful experience. Learning takes place more easily where understanding and respect for others are part everyday life. These are not easy times for colleges and universities, to be sure, but the potential rewards are enormous and gratifying, particularly if we work together because it can and should be fun. I intend to have fun, and I hope you will as well."

The president's welcome also included a ceremony recognizing Longwood's Honor Code, the 100th anniversary of which is being celebrated this fall. "One of the things that struck me most about my visits to Longwood, and one of the things that made me most comfortable, was seeing the Honor Code on the wall of the library," President Finnegan said. "Not only was it a tie to West Point, but it also confirmed that the Longwood community and I shared the same values."