Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Leslie Parrott Convocation and Athletic Center

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Institution Name: Olivet Nazarene University
Original/Historic Place Name: includes Birchard Field House, Chalfant Hall
Location on Campus: north central, between Willingham Dr. and Kelley St.
Date(s) of Construction:
1926original construction; Birchard Gymnasium Robert Chenoweth & Associates
1963original construction; Chalfant Hall Auditorium
1990original construction; McHie Arena
Designer: Robert Chenoweth & Associates
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Contemporary (Glossary)
Significance: culture, education
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: concrete and steel
Walls: brick, block, concrete, limestone, and glass
Roof: insulated sheathing
1926-present (2006)gymnasium (including athletic department)
1963-present (2006)chapel
ca. 1963-present (2006)auditorium (seats 2000)
ca. 1990-present (2006)other (arena/gathering hall; seats 2500 for athletic events and 1000 for dinners or luncheons)

The Leslie Parrott Convocation/Athletic Center brings together the Birchard Gymnasium (1926, 30,516 square feet), Chalfant Hall Auditorium, (1963, 21,580 square feet), and the new McHie Arena (1990, 60,606 square feet). The space includes athletic training facilities, classrooms, and two auditoriums for chapel services, concerts, or dinners. McHie Arena seats 2,500 for athletic events or large gatherings such as commencement. Chalfant Hall seats 2,000 for chapel or concerts and 900 for dinners. McHie Arena seats 1,000 for dinners or luncheons.

Birchard Gymnasium was the major athletic and auditorium facility until Chalfant Hall was built in 1963. The concept for the Concovation/Athletic Center connected both of these structures with the new, larger McHie Arena with its classrooms and faculty/staff offices.

Birchard was named for the late Fred Carlton Birchard, an Olivet graduate and religion department faculty member who was noted for his athletic interest and abilities on the former Olivet campus south of Danville, Ill. Chalfant Hall is named for the late Dr. E.O. Chalfant, superintendent of the Chicago Central District of Nazarene churches (1922-1952), an Olivet trustee 37 years, and secretary of the board of trustees 26 years. McHie Arena is named for Dick and Aline McHie, alumni and local business people who made the first major donation in the campaign to raise funds for its construction.

All three connected buildings have been used together for special functions, such as alumni homecoming weekend and special conferences. Summer athletic training camps can be divided into the three large rooms. During major events for campus guests, all three buildings are used for meetings and meal service. At commencement, for instance, overflow crowds from McHie Arena may view the proceedings on giant video screens in Chalfant Hall.

This entire facility is utilized by the Chicago Bears football team during their summer training camp.


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Last update: November 2006