Students and faculty at Western Maryland College will celebrate today the $7 million renovation of two campus buildings, including one of the college's oldest academic facilities, and will officially name the science center in memory of two benefactors.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4:30 p.m. and reception in Science Center Plaza are open to the public. Visitors will be invited to tour the restored and renovated buildings - Lewis Hall of Science and Lewis Recitation Hall.
Both buildings are named for Thomas Hamilton Lewis, who was the college's second president for 34 years.
Lewis Recitation Hall - known on campus as Old Lewis - was completed in 1914 and is one of nine campus buildings and structures in the Maryland Historical Trust. It was designed by the Olmsted brothers of Boston, whose father, Frederick Law Olmsted, designed New York's Central Park. Originally built to house several science departments and numerous lecture rooms, the renovated hall is now home to the departments of communication, sociology, and economics and business administration.
During the renovation, the historic exterior of the building was preserved as were classic corridor walls and tin-ceiling interiors. A third-floor lecture hall, noted for its decorative wrought-iron desk supports that date to the college's first science building, Yingling Hall, were updated with new writing surfaces and enlarged seating space to accommodate the bigger physique of today's student. Yingling Hall was built in 1889 and torn down in 1914 when work on Lewis Recitation Hall began.
Lewis Hall of Science, which is known as New Lewis and is attached as a wing to the older hall, houses the departments of physics, math and computer science, and computer laboratories for biology and chemistry.
The 3-year-old science center, which adjoins the Lewis buildings, will be named in memory of Thomas H. and Catharine "Kitty" Welker Eaton, who lived in Talbot County. Tom Eaton, who earned a degree in chemistry in 1927, died in 1995. Kitty Eaton died in 1999. The more than $8 million gift from their estate, announced in July, is the largest made to the college.
In addition to the buildings, the college will celebrate completion of a winding brick walkway that stretches from Decker College Center to Main Street, finishing a pedestrian academic area.