Learning in Chico

Photo By Tom Angel

Welcome to college: There are almost 15,000 students enrolled in Chico State University.

Chico State University is one of the California State University system’s most beautiful campuses. Stately brick buildings covered in ivy, a bell tower that tolls the hour, lush lawns that invite study breaks or naps, and a babbling brook that runs right through the center of campus—all contribute to making the campus a peaceful place that just feels scholarly and collegiate.

But campus is more than classrooms. Chico State is home to a wide variety of stores, eateries, galleries and art centers. The completion of the new Bell Memorial Union this summer greatly expanded the university’s retail capacity, and the BMU now holds an impressive bookstore, a large cafeteria with a half-dozen types of food, a convenience store, an e-mail lounge, a game room and a TV lounge.

Campus is wonderful, but parking on or near campus isn’t. No cars are allowed anywhere on campus. Visitors can obtain parking permits from the Public Safety Office in Yuba Hall, next to the BMU at Second and Chestnut streets. Guided tours are available Monday through Saturday at 11:30 a.m. All tours meet at Sutter Hall except for Saturday tours, which meet at the University Police center; call 898-6322 for more information or inquire at the Student Admissions office in Sutter Hall, Second and Hazel streets.

Historic Quarter
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 small California “normal school” for teachers. Trinity Hall, Kendall Hall, Laxson Auditorium and Ayres Hall: These ivy-covered structures give the campus an Ivy League-style dignity. To the northwest are the two newest structures: Tehama and O’Connell halls.

Bell Memorial Union
The new BMU, which underwent a major renovation and just re-opened this summer, is currently home to the brand-new bookstore, an eatery, the Union Express, and auditorium and the Associated Students offices. Hours: Mon.-Fri. 7:30 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sat. 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; closed Sunday.

Meriam Library
Named after the late Ted Meriam, a former 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.

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.

The Rose Garden, located behind Kendall Hall, is one of the university’s most popular attributes. Picking a rose, however, will cost you $75.

Photo By Tom Angel

Laxson Auditorium
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 early 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 Chico 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.

Art Galleries

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.נ p.m., as well as during auditorium events and by appointment. Call 898-4476.

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. Call 898-5079 for current exhibit information.

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.נ p.m.; Sun. noonנ p.m. 898-5864.

More Education

Butte College
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 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.

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.

Chico Unified School District
The local school district, with its 16 elementary schools, three junior high schools and three high schools, continues to produce students who exceed the national average in standardized tests. Nearly 14,000 students attend the district’s schools altogether. For information, call the District Office at 898-3000.