University makes town what it is
It’s no wonder that movie studios have considered Chico State University for filming on campus. With majestic brick buildings crawling with ivy and a bell tower that heralds days gone by, the setting is as historic as the academic programs are modern. To get a feel for the Chico state of mind, witness students lounging on the lush lawns for study breaks or enjoying between-classes snacks alongside the creek that runs through the middle of the campus.
A “normal school” for teachers in the early 1900s, Chico State is now widely recognized for its excellence in programs ranging from business to agriculture. Nursing students repeatedly score high on exit exams, the student newspaper The Orion takes the nation’s top award for weeklies nearly every year, and the university’s graduates are scouted aggressively by employers.
Chico State is also the site of a variety of stores, eateries, galleries and art centers. The completion of the new Bell Memorial Union three years ago greatly expanded the university’s retail capacity, and the BMU now holds an impressive bookstore, a restaurant, coffee stand, convenience store, e-mail lounge, TV lounge and information center. Looking ahead, students recently voted in favor of the new 120,000-square-foot Wildcat Activity Center which will be set to open in fall 2008.
The only downside to the campus is parking. Not wanting to pave paradise, the university has forbidden parking on campus. However, there are several lots and a parking structure between Ivy and Cherry streets at West First Street. Visitors can obtain parking permits from the Public Safety Office in Yuba Hall, next to the Performing Arts Center at Second and Normal streets, or there’s a permit dispenser at the lot on West Second along Hazel.
Guided tours of the campus are available Monday through Saturday at 11:30 a.m. All tours meet at the Admissions Office in Colusa Hall except for Saturday tours (appointment required), which meet at the University Police center; call 898-6322 for more information or inquire at the Student Admissions Office in Colusa Hall, Room 101.
The four brick buildings in the central part of campus date from the early part of the 20th century, when Chico State was still a teachers’ school. The Ivy League-looking Trinity Hall, Kendall Hall (built after the original Normal School burned down in 1927), Laxson Auditorium and Ayres Hall comprise this historic quarter.
Bell Memorial Union
The BMU—paid for, owned and operated by the Associated Students—is home to the campus bookstore, a restaurant (the Union Express), an auditorium, study areas, a game room, the Information Center and the Associated Students offices. Hours: Mon.-Fri. 7:30 a.m.-7 p.m. or later; Sat. 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; closed Sunday. www.csuchico.edu/community/map/bmu.html
Named after the late Ted Meriam, a former Chico mayor and state university trustee who was one of Chico’s pre-eminent elders, it is the largest library north of Sacramento and is also an important regional information resource. www.csuchico.edu/library
Performing Arts Center
This large building just east of the BMU is the hub of the university’s extensive performing-arts program. It houses two excellent theaters and a recital hall as well as such support facilities as an extensive scene shop, makeup rooms and practice rooms.
This lovely theater is the most easterly of the three redbrick buildings that form the heart of the campus. Like the others (Kendall Hall, which houses the university administration, and Trinity Hall, which includes the campus bell tower), it was built in the 1930s in a gorgeous Romanesque style reminiscent of Mediterranean cultures. Laxson is the site of the vast majority of music, theater and dance events on campus, including the spring musical and performances of the North State Symphony Orchestra. 898-5791 for tickets.
Museum of Anthropology
Located in Chico State’s Langdon Hall, the museum features photos and artifacts in historical displays. Phone: 898-5397. www.csuchico.edu/anth/Museum
Janet Turner Print Gallery
Located in the mezzanine of Chico State’s Laxson Auditorium, this gallery features rotating exhibits taken from the vast and excellent collection of prints given to the university by the late Dr. Janet Turner, a longtime Chico State art professor and noted serigraphist. Open weekdays 11 a.m.–4 p.m., as well as during auditorium events and by appointment. Call 898-4476. www.csuchico.edu/art/galleries/turnergallery.html
Third Floor Gallery
Located on the third floor of the Bell Memorial Union, this small gallery offers a variety of theme-based art shows. Open during BMU hours.
University Art Gallery
Located in Taylor Hall, this is an all-purpose facility exhibiting everything from work by nationally prominent artists and university faculty to master’s thesis projects. Hours: Mon.–Fri. 10 a.m.–4 p.m.; Sun. noon–4 p.m. 898-5864.
This pleasant space is located smack-dab in the center of Trinity Hall and features rotating—and high-quality—exhibits of local and visiting artists under the sponsorship of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts.
The local community college is located in the foothills midway between Chico and Oroville and also has centers in Chico and Willows, all easily accessible by bus. With exceptional academic programs, impressive computer labs, even its own cable television station, Butte College has earned a reputation for education and job training. More than 12,000 students attend the school. The 54,000-square-foot Butte College Chico Center opened in December making it possible for students to take classes without having to make the long drive to the main campus. The center has 18 classrooms, four computer labs and a bookstore.
The accredited two-year college offers associate degrees along with fully transferable general-education courses, as well as vocational programs with certificates. For more information about Butte College, call 895-2511. www.butte.cc.ca.us
Cal Northern School of Law
The need for a law school with evening classes in the Northstate was filled with Cal Northern, at 1395 Ridgewood Drive in Chico. The four-year course of study trains prospective attorneys with real-world training, and the school has been accredited by the State Bar of California since 1992. For more information, call 891-6900. www.calnorthern.edu