Zona Luce Building Rededicated

Aug. 22, 1997            Click This Link to view old black and white version.  

Abilene Christian University will rededicate a 70-year-old building on the National Register of Historic Places Saturday, Aug. 23, marking the completion of its extensive renovation.

The Zona Luce Building, home of the ACU Department of Agriculture and Environment, basically received an all-new interior and a cleaned exterior.

"This will be better than a new building because it will have the look of a historic building that has truly been restored," said Dr. Glenn Davis, department chairman. To maintain the historic look, the outer appearance was not structurally altered.

Beginning in August 1996, the renovation process included new wet and dry laboratories, new sinks, better wheelchair access, new front porch area, updated interior and better computer capabilities.

During a 15-minute ceremony at 12:30 p.m. in the entryway of the building, Dr. Joe Ritchie, renowned soil scientist and ACU alumnus, will speak on behalf of alumni and the agricultural world on the need for departments such as Agriculture and Environment. Brief remarks will also be made by Dr. Royce Money, ACU president; and alumni Gordon Koonce and Glenn Tuttle, fund-raising campaign co-chairs.

Long-time faculty members who helped establish the agriculture program in its early and later years will be honored including Dr. Francis "Doc" Churchill, Dr. Keith Justice, the late Dewey Davis, and the late T.W. Colby.

More than 135 donors made the Zona Luce renovation possible. Special sponsorship will be recognized with a classroom named for Nina Christian; a classroom named for Sterling and Paula Varner; a lab named for Sam and Seanne Sparks; and a conference room tied to an anonymous donor.

Originally named Zona Luce Hall, the structure was home in earlier years to an elementary and high school operated by the university, which is now Abilene Christian Schools. Built in 1929, the building was named after Zona Luce, who donated 620 acres of land to the school the previous year. Valued at $16,000, the gift was only the second five-figure contribution in the young school's history. It helped cement plans to build the a new campus on the current location in northeast Abilene.

The Department of Agriculture and Environment is housed in the Zona Luce Building, one of the original buildings on campus. Recent renovations, as part of the university's Advancing the Changeless campaign, include state-of-the-art classrooms and lab facilities.

The department operates farm and ranch enterprises to provide field laboratory experiences and employment for students. Cattle, horses, swine, sheep, crops and pastures are maintained on the university farms in support of the courses taught in each of these areas. The ACU Allen Farm is located adjacent to the campus.