- Grove City, Pennsylvania

September 14, 2012

Rathburn Hall ready for Christian groups

Building sits behind GCC's chapel

By Felicia A. Petro/Senior Reporter
Allied News

GROVE CITY — Students arriving at Grove City College Monday will have a new 16,000-square-foot building for Christian activities.

Guests were invited to see Rathburn Hall at an open house on Aug. 14, and it will be open for Christian groups to meet next week.

Until now, "Students meet in various places all over campus," said the Rev. Dr. Stanley Keehlwetter, dean of the chapel.

Rathburn will now provide a place for 50 to 60 Christian groups on campus to meet in one place. "We think the students will love this opportunity given to them," he added.

The building is located behind Harbison Chapel, and is named for David R. Rathburn, who donated the largest gift of $3 million toward the project.

Rathburn is the chair of GCC's board of trustees, and is a 1979 alumnus.

The sandstone on Rathburn Hall matches that of Harbison, and was taken from the same Briar Hill quarry in Indiana, said Tom Gregg, GCC vice president of operations, who oversees the campus building projects. It also has the same slate-roof style as the chapel.

When the site was being prepared a year ago, "we experienced some soft soils," requiring more gravel and fill before building, added project manager Andrew Morgan.

"One thing about the soil in this area is it varies so much, you don't know what to expect," Gregg noted.

Inside, the largest room in the building is Morledge Great Room, which can seat up to 200 people for lectures and about 150 for receptions and banquets.

The room has a projector to show images or words on a main wall and theatrical lighting for bands or programs.

A portable dance floor can be used in the space for a dance production, Gregg said.

The room is named after Richard Morledge, the former dean of the chapel at GCC.

A famous quote of Morledge's was "It's a great day in the kingdom," he added. Now 80, Morledge was able to get a sneak peek at Rathburn on Aug. 13, Gregg said.

Next to the great room is the Grace Room, an intimate banquet and lecture room that can seat about 50 people. The Meyer family donated the money for the room, but didn't want it to be named after them "but for God's grace," Gregg said.

The Campus Ministries Suite is an office on the first floor for Devi Wintrode, director, and her assistant, Bob White.

The pastor of Church of the Beloved Disciple will also meet with students once a week in the suite, which also has a work room with filing cabinets for campus ministries to store records.

Upstairs, there's a large seminar meeting room with a projection and media system and built-in storage; a small seminar room; a prayer room; and an office for Keehlwetter and his assistant, Donna Cales.

Until now, they had their offices in Harbison on opposite ends of the altar.

Now the two are in one office, which also holds a sizeable conference room for meetings. Cales' old office in the chapel will now be used for the wedding hostess and housekeeping, Gregg said.

"Donna works with brides and booking the chapel," he added. Keehlwetter's office will be used as a ready room before service.

A day room upstairs will be for speakers to "get away" without having to drive back to their hotels, Gregg said. It has a television, computer, couch and bathroom.

The entrance of Rathburn holds the names of donors giving $2,500 or more to the building project, which are situated around a stained-glass cross by Renaissance Glass Works in McMurray, Pa., which cleaned and restored the stained glass window at the entrance of Harbison a couple of years ago.

"We had more than 100 donors," said Jeff Brokovich, vice president for advancement.

The project cost $6.8 million. Besides Rathburn's $3 million donation, there were three, $1 million donations by donors whose names were not released to the public, Brokovich said.

Donors most commonly pay off their pledges in three years, although some take longer or give their pledge at once, he added.

"We're just glad it's done and the students will be returning and putting it to good use," Gregg said. "They're getting ready."

The campus is also building a new science, math and engineering building, which is set to open in the fall of 2013.

Published Aug. 25, 2012, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.