University Landmark, Evans Hall, Is Torn Down

By:
Glen Robinson

Construction workers demolished Evans Hall at Southwestern Adventist University today, one of the oldest existing buildings on campus. 

Built in April, 1957, and named for L.C. Evans, the school’s board chairman at the time, the building has served for more than 60 years as an office and classroom building and a place for Sabbath school groups to meet on the weekend. In addition, Evans Hall Auditorium has been used for the weekly campus-wide assembly as well as many concerts, plays, college bowls and other school events.

Dale Hainey, Southwestern’s director of physical plant, states that the main problem with Evans Hall goes all the way back to its construction in the 50s. Flaws with the flooring made the entire building unstable. 

“There wasn’t anything we could do to fix it,” says Hainey. “But it was a marvelous building. It served its purpose for a long time.”

Michael Agee, current chair of the Communication Department and a student at Southwestern 1977-1981 recalls that he took accounting classes and history classes in the building. In addition, he was part of the school’s first dramatic presentation on campus, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” in spring, 1979 in Evans Hall Auditorium. In 1981, a performance of “The Diary of Anne Frank” in the same auditorium led him to meet the woman who would become his wife.

“I tend to be forward-looking rather than nostalgic,” he says. “There are things we need on campus to serve our current students. While we should honor the past, we should look for ways to serve our current and future students.”

Bob Mendenhall taught at Southwestern from 1970 to 2015. His wife Bev taught secretarial classes in the 70s in Evans Hall. Bob recalls that he led out in College Bowl in the Auditorium for many years.

“It’s time for it to come down,” Mendenhall says. “It’s 60 years old.”

Despite its flaws and the general acceptance that it was time for the building’s demolition, there are many memories associated with Evans Hall. Brianna LeBlanc, a 2018 graduate says: “Today marks the end of an era. It feels surreal knowing that when I go back to campus, that building won’t be there anymore.”

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