9/16/2016 Chris Karlesky

Hidden F&M: Keiper Liberal Arts Building

This magazine article is part of Summer 2016 / Issue 86
  • Built in the 1930s, Keiper Liberal Arts building's current renovation involves more than simple cosmetic work, The building's last significant renovation was 1980, said Assistant Director of Project Management Sheldon Wenger. Image Credit: Deb Grove

It’s like a trip back in time.

After opening the west door of Keiper Liberal Arts Building, F&M students climb five well-worn stone steps to get to classrooms on the first floor. Eroded by generations of hurried students making their way to and from classes, the steps have depressions that are instantly recognizable to anyone who has spent much time in the storied building.

Since its dedication at F&M’s sesquicentennial in 1937, Keiper has been a place of critical inquiry, creativity, research and performance. This summer, contractors added a new chapter to the building’s history with their own hard work. While its stone steps remain a familiar entrance, Keiper underwent a massive renovation that included an overhaul of the heating and air-conditioning system and the installation of new lighting, flooring and paint. There is also new classroom furniture, making the wood armchairs from the mid-20th century a thing of the past.

Constructed in Georgian colonial style and red brick, Keiper is an ornate, three-story building that houses the College’s famous Green Room Theatre in addition to classroom and academic offices. Caroline S. Keiper funded its construction in honor of her husband, Lanius B. Keiper, then a member of F&M’s Board of Trustees. The words “Liberal Arts” adorn the south side of the building—a prominent campus landmark above the statues of Benjamin Franklin and John Marshall.

The last significant renovation of Keiper took place in 1980. This year’s work included updated technology in each of the building’s 10 classrooms, dry-erase paint on most classroom walls, and easily rearranged Node chairs with large, integrated work surfaces to provide more instructional flexibility.

But you can still feel the history—beginning with those first steps.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Story 9/23/2016

Letters to the Editor (Summer 2016)

WFNM Memories The picture of Dave Mann ’94 and Rich Quinlan ’95 in the library of WFNM brought...

Read More
Story 9/16/2016

From Greek Village to the American City: The Archaeology of...

An immigrant’s journey means making more than one place home.

Read More
Story 9/16/2016

Voices in the Attic

In the fall of 1956, F&M students returned to campus to discover a new language laboratory in the...

Read More