Signs of progress

The Spires at Berry College

WHAT A SIGHT! The Spires at Berry College continuing care retirement community rises on 50 acres of Berry-leased property adjacent to Eagle Lake.

Ford Auditorium Renovation Work

Workers on scaffolding high above the Ford Auditorium floor are installing a new tongue-and-groove oak ceiling that will significantly enhance acoustics.

Workers tasked with restoring two of Berry’s most beloved campus icons – Ford Auditorium and Barnwell Chapel – have made notable strides this summer. Barnwell is expected to be completed by year’s end, while Ford should be ready in time for spring semester. Work is also progressing on The Spires at Berry College, the new continuing care retirement community rising steadily on the shores of Eagle Lake, not far from main campus.

A “wall-breaking” ceremony during Alumni Weekend served as the kickoff for the $6.3 million Ford Auditorium renovation, which will transform Berry’s signature venue for music performance into a first-class recital hall serving the college and Northwest Georgia communities. Funded by the generosity of more than 400 alumni and friends, the renovation will result in greatly enhanced acoustics, an enlarged stage and a new seating configuration, among many other improvements. Already, workers have completed renovation of adjacent music department spaces. The project, as well as Ford’s unique history, was featured in the July issue of Private University Products and News.

Like Ford, Barnwell has also benefited from the generosity of the Berry community, with 196 donors committing more than $138,000 toward the $600,000 renovation (click here if you’d like to contribute).

Barnwell Window Restoration

Alumni Work Week participants contribute “sweat equity” to the Barnwell Chapel renovation.

The comprehensive project began in March using lumber culled from Berry’s own slow-growth pines and includes replacement of exterior logs, installation of a new roof, foundation repairs, updated electrical wiring and a new handicapped-accessible entrance. In May, Al Christopher (61c) led an Alumni Work Week crew of 13 tasked with the job of restoring the chapel’s windows.

The Spires, meanwhile, continues to be on track for a 2020 opening, with drivers on Redmond Circle enjoying a commanding view of the rapidly developing community. Excitement continues to build around the project, which will operate as a financially independent, self-sustaining nonprofit separate from Berry College. Reservations for the 170 cottage and apartment-style homes now exceed 80 percent, and some residents are already relocating to Rome. The new community is expected to generate significant work and learning opportunities for Berry students.

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