Editor's note: This is a series of columns by John Malcolm on his "50 years at Fredonia." Retired, he is a professor emeritus at Fredonia State.
By JOHN MALCOLM
Old Mason is much harder to see now, surrounded as it is by the newer buildings of the I.M. Pei Master Plan, the much older and fuller trees, and its own additions of 1962 ("Mason Annex") and 1970 ("New Mason") The price tags on those additions were $325,000 and $2,533,300 respectively. In 2002-04 a new addition was built to contain a concert hall and facilities to support music programs, notably Recording Technology.
In my time as a student Mason did double duty because of the aforementioned disabling of Fenton and the growing student body. Mason Hall Auditorium (Diers Recital Hall) was the only formal auditorium on campus.
For example theatrical performances were held in Diers. Films were shown by removing the rear doors and putting in a temporary projection booth. General faculty meetings were held here. In my time there were also required orientation sessions that someone labeled: "An Introduction to Dean Overs' School for Young Ladies."
Mason has also housed, temporarily, the campus radio and television stations.
Finally, in 2004 Mason underwent a complete renovation that will, hopefully allow it to be a part of the campus for many years to come.
The second link in the quadrangle was to be Fenton Hall. It was called the "Ad Building" in the '50s. It replaced temporary barracks-style housing that had been placed on the site to house married students, mostly veterans, following World War II. Most campuses had similar structures.
As built, Fenton was stripped of frills and disappointed Dr. Leslie Gregory. The roof was flat with no tower. This led to problems only four years after completion when the plaster ceilings on the second floor started falling down.
There was one spectacular fall in what was then room 235 the science lecture hall, just in front of the first row. Apparently the ventilation system for the space between the ceiling and the roof had not been modified with the new design. The plaster had to be replaced with ventilated metal panels.
What was Fenton like in 1956-57? The main entrances were the same as now but there have been additional access points where the library used to be in the south wing.
John Malcolm is a Fredonia resident. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org