By Jason Diaz
For years it was always 6:05 on Rider’s Princeton Campus. No one knows if that was a.m. or p.m. The renovated clocktower is the improvement most visible to the public after a summer of fixups — but not the most important. That honor goes to completion of the Playhouse renovations.
One of the most significant locations in Westminster’s history, the Playhouse has primarily served as a rehearsal space, that has been graced by some of the most prominent conductors of the 20th century. The renovation was designed in tandem with the Marion Buckelew Cullen Center, which opened on Sept. 2, 2014, and became the first building added to the Princeton campus in 39 years.
After the successful fundraising of $1.69 million, students will now have access to a 2,950-square-foot stage extension, including two dressing rooms, two restrooms, storage space and handicap accessibility. The Playhouse will be renamed the Robert L. Annis Playhouse, honoring the retirement of Westminster College of the Arts Dean Robert Annis.
Although The Playhouse renovation is a major step toward improving student resources, it is not the only change students will be appreciating this academic year. A series of paint jobs have also been completed to certain campus buildings.
The repainting of the Williamson Hall clocktower has brought a new look to the campus landmark. Named after Westminster founder John Finley Williamson, Williamson Hall serves as an iconic image of Westminster Choir College. A new coat of white and gold paint was added to the tower. Before the renovation, the clocktower never told time because of a broken clockwork mechanism. Now, an accurate time is displayed with a functioning clock.
“It’s great to see the work they’re putting into renovating the clocktower,” said junior music education major Skyler Klein. “It’s one of the main focal points on campus visually, so seeing it redone is nice.”
Other renovations included the repainting of window frames on Bristol Chapel and Taylor Hall. The interior of Taylor Hall has also been improved with fire safety barriers and new doors for faculty offices.
While academic buildings have seen a majority of the campus improvements, it is not the only area where renovations have occurred. All three residence halls have received new and improved kitchen spaces. In the basements, washing machines and driers have been replaced with new models.
“I’m glad that the residence halls are improving,” Klein said. “There was a huge need for change and it’s slowly happening.”