Following major renovations, Alvernia University rededicated and blessed its most historic building, Francis Hall, this fall. The latest project transformed the space — inside and out — and includes creation of a contemporary entryway and foyer that provides access to the Theater and Recital Hall, as well as a new art gallery, music studios, and recital spaces. In addition, a dramatically terraced student plaza graces the exterior, featuring tables with umbrellas and chairs, a water feature and patio.
The project included creation of the 640-square-foot Miller Gallery, named after local arts supporters, Marlin and Regina Miller. The Miller Gallery’s first exhibit, “The Beauty of Berks,” was on display through October. The exhibit featured art loaned to Alvernia by the Reading Public Museum. The gallery is currently featuring art work by Alvernia students. The student works highlight a multitude of media including acrylics, oils, pencil, 3-D media and photography. In January, “Masters of American Photography” will open and feature works from the Reading Public Museum’s recently acquired collection of photographs representing America from the 1880s through the 1980s. Renovation of the third floor was also part of the effort that added a fine and performing arts suite and new offices.
Francis Hall first opened its doors in 1926 as an educational facility for orphans and young women. It served as the only building on Alvernia’s campus for its first eight years. “Our venerable ‘old Main’ now features a beautiful new entry plaza and courtyard, rehearsal spaces for our music program, the new Miller Gallery, and adjoining lobby,” said Alvernia President Thomas F. Flynn, Ph.D. “The historic building, which once represented the entirety of Alvernia College, is now a striking gateway to a beautiful and vibrant University — one of which the University’s Bernardine foundresses scarcely could have imagined when they opened its doors over 50 years ago.”