BY BRENNEN AMONETT – OPINIONS EDITOR
The St. Louis-based architectural, planning and engineering firm, Hastings+Chivetta announced on Tuesday at a student forum the first campus improvement in the development of Centre College’s new master plan. A LEED Certified Parthenon will soon be an aesthetic fixture on campus with plans to complete the structure by the college’s bicentennial in January 2019.
A to-scale recreation of the ancient Athenian temple will be situated on the hill that currently holds the Presbyterian Church Labyrinth. Being the highest point in the area surrounding campus, the Parthenon will overlook the pesticide-infused lawns and its cousin column-bearing constructions.
Directors Brian Hutzley, Centre’s new CFO, and Chief Planning Officer Patrick Noltemeyer announced the plan in a stunning PowerPoint Presentation that highlighted the building’s minimal environmental impacts, its consistency with the current campus design, and its contribution to maintaining a focus on classical societies in the peripheral vision of first-year Humanities students. However, one major change to the classical piece of architecture is that it will no longer contain a 40-foot statue of the Greek goddess of wisdom, craft, and war, Athena. Rather, the Centre Parthenon will house one 3-foot tall glass sculpture by the god of paint, glass, and ceramics, Stephen Rolfe Powell.
After the forum, the two directors took questions from the students in attendance. In regard to the utility of the building, Brian Hutzley pointed out that “it will have absolutely no use on campus other than its addition to the net total of columns on campus.” Centre College has recently been named a Column Campus for the 7th year in a row thanks to Susie Roush’s Campus Beautification Fund and, according to the CFO, “[Centre] intends to keep that streak up for a very long time.”
Acknowledging the building’s sustainability, Patrick Noltemeyer listed off several of the Pantheon’s features that contribute to its environmentally-friendly design, including squat toilets with no running water, ormolu-gilded chandeliers, and, like all other buildings on campus, no working air conditioning unit.
The announcement did not come without criticism. Many on campus consider this a cheap theft of ideas regarding the already-existing Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee. Junior Courtney McGraw, a Nashville native, called the blueprint “an appropriation of Music City culture.” She went on to claim “this Nashville creation belongs at its home in Centennial Park. Danville and Centre have no right to steal such a defining staple of the Country Music Capitol.”
According to Centre College President John “P-Diddy” Roush, “the addition of a campus Parthenon helps our students cultivate an appreciation for the aesthetic dimensions of human experience.” When pressed further on the issue, President Roush had run out of relevant one-liners memorized directly off the college’s website.
Although the true impact on campus remains to be seen, the decision to turn to the ethnically-domineering roots of democratic society and derive high admiration is in line with first-year required Humanities courses. Therefore, one can expect the addition of the Parthenon will help provide a foundation of understanding from which to base the entirety of collegiate studies. There is, after all, no greater example of a society that held high esteem for arts and culture than that of Greece, and thus no greater standard to rival our Liberal Arts Institution. Not a one. Not a single one.