Wittenberg Magazine P.O. Box 720 Springfield, Ohio 45501-0720
Phone: (937) 327-6141 Fax: (937) 327-6112
Hollenbeck Hall: A new frontier for learning
PRESERVING TRADITION, TRANSFORMING TOMORROW
It started as a sketch of dream. It evolved into a blueprint of a possibility. It emerged as an embodiment of a new era in liberal arts education at Wittenberg — Hollenbeck Hall.
The first new freestanding academic facility to grace the campus landscape in more than 30 years, Hollenbeck Hall beautifully blends tradition and technology without compromising the quality or character that defines the Wittenberg experience.
Stretching across the north rim of Myers Hollow, the structure also stands as a testament to the university’s commitment to providing a state-of-the-art learning environment for generations of 21st-century students.
DESIGNING A DREAM, CONNECTING A COMMUNITY
With its arched atrium, open design, distinct color scheme and intricate patterns, Hollenbeck Hall represents an architectural manifestation of Wittenberg’s best aesthetic thinking.
Designed by architects Albert L. Filoni and Alan F. Hohlfelder of the Pittsburgh firm MacLachlan, Cornelius & Filoni, the 63,000 square-foot structure mirrors the architecture of such predominant campus buildings as Recitation Hall, Blair Hall, Koch Hall and the old physical education building.
“Visually, we wanted to connect the building to the campus, so we borrowed from many of Wittenberg’s buildings,” Filoni said.
The stone patterns and brickwork found on the old gym as well as the rounded brick apse of the chapel in Recitation Hall are among the exterior elements the two architects incorporated into Hollenbeck’s façade.
Filoni and Hohlfelder also integrated actual pieces of Wittenberg’s past in the structure. Built on the site of the former Hamma Divinity School, Hollenbeck contains the original limestone threshold from Keller Hall, which greets visitors at Hollenbeck’s west entrance to the first floor.
The new home of the humanities on campus, Hollenbeck spans the entire north rim of Myers Hollow and appears to be constructed in an almost “zig-zag” shape, which allows the building to conform beautifully to the contours of the Hollow without dominating over it.
“The biggest challenge in doing a building like this was to make sure it didn’t look like a box, and to do so within a reasonable budget,” Filoni said, noting that spaces outside a building should be as interesting as the building itself.
The result is a structure surrounded by mature trees, open spaces and spectacular views, which beckons people to stop and stare.
Determined to make the building fun as well as functional and attractive, Filoni and Hohlfelder also added a few whimsical elements to Hollenbeck’s exterior.
“If you look at any of the façades, you see stones on both corners, but the stones are different,” Filoni said. “These elements are playful, and they add to the richness of the building.”
The same holds true for the central atrium area where two gargoyles stand as sentinels over students below. “They add to the fun,” Hohlfelder added.
Behind Hollenbeck’s traditional yet playful veneer, however, sits a contemporary architectural wonder that embodies Wittenberg’s unique educational environment in action.
The spacious three-story atrium with its open, airy appearance encourages conversation and conveys a sense of community that extends beyond the classroom. Informal nooks and seating areas sprinkled throughout the structure facilitate faculty-student interaction and enhance inter-departmental communication.
The 100-seat Ness Auditorium adjacent to the atrium provides an intimate setting for colloquia, performances, student presentations and receptions for the campus, Springfield community and beyond.
The color selections also seem to enrich the educational environment of Hollenbeck. From navy blue and ivory to fireweed and tanglewood, the colors create a warm, welcoming ambience conducive to learning, socializing or just hanging out.
“We wanted Hollenbeck to feel active and full of life,” Hohlfelder explained. “We also wanted it to be a place where students will feel comfortable.”
TEACHING WITH TECHNOLOGY, EXPLORING NEW FRONTIERS
The culmination of President Baird Tipson’s commitment to staying on the forefront of the technological revolution, Hollenbeck Hall offers unlimited avenues for exploration and learning in today’s highly complex world.
Centuries ago, a simple technological innovation revolutionized education. Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press meant that learning no longer was confined to a few great libraries or limited to an elite class of students.
Today’s revolution, though still in its infancy, appears to be multi-faceted, accelerating in numerous directions at once with implications yet unimagined.
“Computer networks and electronically stored information have begun to change the nature of higher education,” Tipson said.“Traditional instruction, where an expert imports knowledge to a classroom full of eager novices, will be increasingly rare.
We can’t afford to let our students graduate without mastering the latest information technology in their chosen careers,” he said.
“Information technology is enormously exciting and an enormously challenging development in higher education. It enables us to teach in ways we could only dream of when I was a student.”
Far from removing the professor from the classroom, instructional technologies promise to free faculty to guide students in an even more personal direction.
At Wittenberg, terminals will never replace teachers; they will strengthen a great tradition of education in a new age.
In keeping with this collaborative learning tradition, Hollenbeck’s technology will allow faculty and students alike to explore together the world beyond Wittenberg’s borders as they maneuver the fast-paced, global information highway of modern times.
Home to hundreds of computers, Hollenbeck provides a contemporary learning environment for the technologically literate students of today.
Miles of fiber-optic cable make nearly every square foot “connected,” and students who tuck themselves away in cozy corners of the building can plug into numerous network nodes.
As faculty and students converse in one of the many deliberately designed meeting areas, they are a mere laptop modem away from accessing Hollenbeck’s instructional resources.
Satellite and Internet technologies further extend students’ reach to the edge of current limits, while Hollenbeck’s computers offer entry to a full spectrum of high-end applications for accessing and creating documents, graphics, photos, video, audio and web projects.
Abandoning the floppy disk, students can make their own CD-ROM disks in Hollenbeck’s computer labs, including the students’ favorite, the 24-hour lab, one of the few such labs available at a private Ohio college.
At the heart of each of Hollenbeck’s 22 classrooms sits a computer. Its eyes serve as document cameras and data projectors, giving professors flexible access to written information.
Add network, cable, Internet and video capabilities, and the classrooms are transformed into a modern teaching arsenal. Hollenbeck’s large, lavish blackboards enjoy competition from new electronic “wipe boards,” which give professors the option of saving their lecture notes and assignments to a file that can then be posted on a web site for student use.
A scant decade ago, library research translated into manually poring through cards, books, journals and documents, searching for the needle of relevance in the haystack of knowledge. It also meant traveling to distant cities for rare, expensive, or out-of-print resources.
Now, from Hollenbeck’s terminals, students can explore the riches of Thomas Library and the millions of books available through OhioLINK, a multi-library consortium, as well as the burgeoning news and ideas of the World Wide Web with even more powerful search engines.
Properly done, these methods can reduce the drudgery of inquiry, leaving more time for discovery, thinking and multi-processing.
In Hollenbeck, the flagship of Wittenberg’s continuing commitment to preserve the university’s basic character in a time when so much is changing, these modern technologies fulfill student expectations for easy, ubiquitous communication and prepare them for careers where adapting to evolving technology will be the norm.
In a place alive with tradition, Wittenberg cherishes these traditions the most: an involved faculty, a personal, supportive environment and a dedication to collaborative learning.
Hollenbeck Hall stands as a microcosm of these traditions and as a living symbol of Wittenberg’s special commitment to liberal arts education. “It’s the kind of environment that brings a new spark to teaching,” said James L. Huffman, H. Orth Hirt professor of history. “It shows we care about liberal arts.”
In Hollenbeck, classrooms and faculty offices are intentionally co-mingled with formal and informal meeting places to make the interaction of faculty and students and the overlapping of the liberal arts as easy as they are natural at Wittenberg.
“To me, being in a beautiful place inspires good conversation,” said Mimi S. Dixon, professor of English. “It’s an exciting environment to learn in.”
“There is an open quality to the rooms,” added J. Robert Baker, chair and associate professor of political science. “Prospective students and their parents are able to see students working and teachers teaching.”
Pulsing in the background is the growing potential of technology to augment that “connectedness” in ways that educators will be exploring with generations of students.
“The new building will permit us flexibility and will allow us to address our academic subjects in ways not possible before,” said George Hudson, professor of political science.
With Hollenbeck’s technology at their fingertips, professors, committed to the personal development of each student, can now use computer simulations, which could offer students real-time exploration of real-world problems in political science, East Asian studies and elsewhere.
Visual modeling of complexities in history could help students grasp and remember connections and concepts in compelling ways. “The new classrooms are designed to meet the needs of modern students,” Baker said.
In the near future, classes could also study Russian history in tandem with a class in a Russian college. The study of pop culture could be done in tandem with college students in a London classroom.
American students could study the Korean War together with a class in China, or they could study the history of slavery with students of the Ivory Coast.
Already interactive multimedia instruction has emerged as a powerful ally in the study of languages. Satellite television broadcasts from around the world give language students the opportunity to immerse themselves virtually in the language and culture of the nation of their choosing.
With innovative computer software, English professors can now teach composition in new and interesting ways.
Filled with dozens of nooks and meeting areas, Hollenbeck’s design also encourages faculty-to-student and student-to-student interaction, cornerstones of the Wittenberg experience.
“The various open areas throughout the building will allow special programs, such as Russian area studies, to create ‘interest pods,’ which can be decorated appropriately and in which students and faculty can gather to discuss issues relating to their programs,” Hudson said.
A new academic center for the next millennium, Hollenbeck preserves the ethos of the Wittenberg experience. “It gives us a feeling of pride when we walk past it,” said Philip D. Mielke, senior philosophy major. It also provides students with a place to grow, a place to learn and a place to succeed as they work to discover their own callings in life.
LEAVING A LEGACY
Generations of Hollenbecks have used their talents to benefit Wittenberg and city of Springfield.
The Credit Life Building, one of the Hollenbecks’ achievements, is a Springfield landmark, and thanks to a generous gift from Jane Bayley Hollenbeck ’38 and her family, Wittenberg now has a state-of-the-art academic center for the next millennium.
Wittenberg’s relationship with Jane Bayley Hollenbeck ’38 and her late husband, Dwight, date back to the turn of the century. Dwight’s parents, Ralph and Ellen McGrew Hollenbeck, both graduated from Wittenberg in the early 1900s. They later founded Credit Life Insurance Co. in Springfield.
Dwight married Jane Pratt Bayley ’38, a member of another family of Springfield industrial pioneers, in June 1939.
Throughout the years, both the Bayleys and Hollenbecks have contributed regularly to Wittenberg. Bayley Auditorium in Science Hall is Wittenberg’s largest lecture hall, and the Bayley House on North Wittenberg Avenue, the family’s former home, is now the residence of Wittenberg’s 12th president, Baird Tipson.
Because of the lead gift from Jane Hollenbeck and her family, the Wittenberg board of directors officially named the new academic center in their honor.
BUILDING ON A RICH HERITAGE
The beautiful ridge of Myers Hollow where Hollenbeck Hall now stands is home to a long tradition of Lutheran education. Leamer, Sprecher, Keller and Ort Halls were names associated with the site where buildings of the former Hamma Divinity School once stood.
The west entrance to Hollenbeck continues that tradition as it contains the original limestone threshold from Keller Hall, the longest-standing building from the seminary named for Ezra Keller, Wittenberg’s founder and first president.
Outside the main entrance, the cornerstone also mirrors Wittenberg’s rich liberal arts tradition. Inside the cornerstone sits a time capsule containing items that reflect the breadth and depth of contemporary academic life at Wittenberg for future generations.
Among the items suggested by faculty, staff and alumni are materials from Sprecher and Keller Halls, admission literature, campus publications and photographs.
Throughout the years, fire, aging facilities and enrollment trends changed Wittenberg’s landscape, and Hamma Divinity School eventually merged with the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Columbus, Ohio, which is now Trinity Lutheran Seminary. However, Hamma stone markers still remain as do the traditions that form the foundation of the Wittenberg experience.
Wittenberg Magazine P.O. Box 720 Springfield, Ohio 45501-0720
Phone: (937) 327-6141 Fax: (937) 327-6112