Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project

 

 
Swisher Auditorium

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Institution Name: Jacksonville University
Original/Historic Place Name: Swisher Auditorium
Location on Campus:
Date(s) of Construction:
1955-1956original construction; spring 1955 - April 1956 Haas, J. Brooks
Designer: J. Brooks Haas
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Modern/post-WWII (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, culture, education, engineering, history, religion
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Materials:
Foundation: concrete slab
Walls: brick
Roof: flat, rooled roof with tar
 
Function:
ca. 1956-2001auditorium (constructed as the facility for student dramatic and musical productions)
ca. 2001-present (2006)other (at this time the auditorium is temporarily closed due to structural damage, much needed upgrading of electrical, heating, lighting and other conditions; the funding for this project is the university’s number one priority)
 

Narrative:
This was the fourth building on campus personally funded by Carl S. Swisher or by his Foundation. This structure received a $250,000 donation that covered the entire cost of construction. Its facade is distinguished by a mosaic fountain and reflecting pool, and the building steps back on both sides. With its 604-seat capacity, a proscenium, jackknife, wagon-type stage for moving sets on and off intact, it provided a facility for the arts. The auditorium doubled as a teaching facility for advanced speech and drama courses and as a much-needed facility for student assemblies and convocations. It also provided the Jacksonville community with the opportunity to see high quality productions and offered a building for use in local theatrical productions.

The Swisher Auditorium was closed in the spring of 2001 due to numerous problems, not the least of which is structural damage. Renovation of the facility is the university's number one priority.
 

References:

Bald, Ralph D. 4 Decades of Growth. Jacksonville, FL: Jacksonville University Office of Public Relations, 1975.

Bald, Ralph D., Jr. A History of Jacksonville University, The First Twenty-Five Years, 1934-1959. Jacksonville, FL: Jacksonville University, 1959.

Hallam, George. Our Place in the Sun, A History of Jacksonville University. Jacksonville, FL: Jacksonville University, 1988.

"History of Jacksonville University. Descriptions of the University--Photographs." [n.d.] Carl S. Swisher Library, Jacksonville University, Jacksonville, FL.

Middleton, Bill. "McGully's Gulch: Where It Began." Florida-Times Union, October 23, 1951.

 

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Last update: November 2006