Memorial Ballroom, a centerpiece of University of Lynchburg campus life, is getting a major facelift this holiday season.
Contractors began working in the ballroom in Hall Campus Center on Friday, November 17. Over the next two months or so, the room will be transformed into a modern facility with a new floor and ceiling, audio-visual upgrades, and a permanent stage with an attached ramp to improve accessibility. Capacity in the ballroom will remain the same, at a little more than 400 people.
Memorial Ballroom is the home base for open houses and scholarship competitions for prospective students and their families. It’s also used for many student activities and faculty and staff meetings every week. The community is excited to see the finished product.
“For many families, it’s the first gathering place on campus,” said Vice President for Enrollment Management Rita Detwiler. “This will give them the greater sense of our community and the warm and welcoming spirit of the LC community. It will absolutely set the right tone and make that very positive and warm first impression.”
Sharon Walters-Bower, director of admissions, said the ballroom will join the Drysdale Student Center and Schewel Hall as a premiere facility to showcase. “It’s going to look just as beautiful as the other new facilities we have on campus,” she said.
“Families often talk about what a grand experience they have here and how beneficial their campus visits are. For them to be in a place that is attractive and comfortable and up-to-date with technology is very important for us.”
The ballroom was built as Memorial Gymnasium in 1923 in memory of soldiers killed in World War I. Jan Sigler ’65, a stewardship coordinator in Lynchburg’s advancement office, remembers it being the main gymnasium on campus.
“We played and watched basketball games there, had gym classes, etc.,” she said. “There was a wooden track built way up high, two stories up. The track team ran on it all the time and the coaches’ offices were up on that level, too.”
The building also had a pool for many years. Sigler noted that her office suite sits where the pool was located. “I like to tell students that I sit in the deep end,” she said.
In 1980, the gymnasium was renovated and renamed Hall Campus Center. “It’s been a very well-used facility,” Sigler said.