Cole hall was constructed in 1929 by the Harrisonburg Building and Supply Company. Its name honors Dr. Charles Knox Cole, foster father of benefactor Virginia Garber Cole Strickler. The building was dedicated on June 1, 1930. Cole Hall features a large auditorium in which a pipe organ is installed. In addition to the main campus auditorium, the building also housed classrooms and a smaller theatre.
The Bridgewater College library was moved from the first floor of Founders’ Hall to the basement of Cole Hall in December 1929. It remained in Cole Hall until books were transferred to the newly built Alexander Mack Memorial Library in the Great Book Lift of September 18, 1963. Chapel exercises were moved to Cole Hall from Memorial Hall in September 1946.
Cole Hall was renovated several times. In 1968, its iconic front columns were replaced with a new glass front. Also it was connected by a covered breezeway with the newly built student union and cafeteria building, the Kline Campus Center. A two-story addition was added to the end of Cole Hall in 1973. The addition was constructed by the George G. Reeves Construction Company. It improved the theatre and auditorium facilities. The Reuel B. Pritchett Museum occupied the former library space in the basement of Cole Hall from 1964 until 2017. Today the renovated space houses the Bridgewater College Campus Store.
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