The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Staff Editorial: Crumbling Amphitheater Must Be Carefully Restored

2 min read

In five years, new students at UMW will have no idea that Monroe Hall once had murals on the second floor, Lee Hall had a ballroom or the Bell Tower wasn’t always there to wake you up in the afternoon when you overslept for your 12 p.m. class.

Over the past few years, UMW has undergone some major reconstructive surgery, with Mason and Randolph as the latest historic buildings to go.

However, after the recent incident in the Amphitheater, we’re worried this historic pondering spot will be the next campus character to be “fixed.”

The amphitheater originally paid homage to the Greeks with open-air performances, but now serves a greater purpose in the grand scheme of student living—a thinking place.

Teachers often bring students beyond the walls of academia to this secluded spot when spring comes around, and often students go there to study or relax away from their roommates.

The columns may be wobbly and the space outdated, but these qualities are what give the space a personality.

Under no circumstances should the Amphitheater be torn down.

If anyone were to decide to “renovate” the Amphitheater, it would need to be overseen by people from the department of historic preservation.  These are the only people we trust not to pave paradise and put up a parking lot.

Right now, UMW is in the fast lane to becoming a generic state university.  With the newer buildings, there is a risk of too many unnatural colors, a shiny façade and mundane, overly modern buildings.

For many of us, the Amphitheater is the one thing left with authentic historic value on campus.  Even renovations on the Underground made it go from coffeehouse-esque jam sesh environment to awkward Bingo night at the senior center.

We like campus the way it is and don’t see why constant renovation is necessary.

We understand that for practical reasons, like Monroe sinking into the ground, the campus does need to be updated periodically, but we don’t think these renovations should change the entire atmosphere of campus.