The College of Arts and Architecture
View from Curtain

Frequntly Asked Questions

Do YOU have a question about the new hall? Ask us

What happened to the fountain that was in the courtyard?

The building construction came at an auspicious time since the mechanics/motor of the fountain in the Walters Courtyard had been failing for the past five years, and there were ongoing discussions regarding its removal even before the new recital hall was planned. The fountain, dedicated in 1968, was designed by artist George Tsutakawa and was a gift to Penn State from Samuel (Penn State '14) and Mae Witman.

The bronze artwork at the fountain’s center was carefully removed in May, and it is in the process of having its first thorough cleaning and restoration. Once building construction is completed and all vehicles have been removed, it is hoped that the fountain will be re-installed closer to the Allen Street side of the music buildings – perhaps at the entrance to the courtyard between Music Buildings I and II. In this space, it will be visible from the street and also serve as an elegant and artistic entry to the new recital hall and the Playhouse Theatre. Stay tuned!

What happened to the plantings formerly in the Walters Courtyard?

Although we are very excited about our long-awaited new recital hall, it was extremely sad to say goodbye to the courtyard and all of the wonderful memories it held for alums, current students, faculty, and staff. Some of the trees had to be removed completely, but others (including some of the crabapples and Kousa dogwoods, as well as some perennial plants) have been relocated around campus. The dogwoods actually left the Walters Courtyard in a majestic procession of forklifts through the campus where they were re-planted in the garden areas around Old Main.

Thankfully, the footprint of the building does not take up the entire space of the former courtyard, and those who have seen the proposed landscape design for the area surrounding the new hall have been impressed with the amount of casual seating and meeting space, as well as the beautiful selection of tree and plant material. While we will never forget the Walters Courtyard, our future students, faculty, and friends will have ample opportunity to make new memories in a new and beautifully landscaped garden.

What is happening to the organ that was in Esber Recital Hall?

Our beloved Holtkamp organ (Op. 1793), installed in 1963, was purchased by Park Forest Village United Methodist Church in State College for use in their spacious sanctuary. The organ was dismantled by SDG Organs, and moved to its new space during July and August, so that it would remain unaffected by temperature changes occurring as a result of scheduled HVAC work during the Esber Recital Hall renovation.

We are all thrilled that the Holtkamp has found a new home in State College! The music staff at PFMC has assured us that any Penn State organists who wish to practice on it or present a recital at the church are welcome at any time. Organ installation in the balcony of the church is scheduled for the fall, and a dedicatory recital will be scheduled in the future.

Penn State organists will still have access to the Holtkamp organ in 244 Music Building I, the Dobson organ located in 110 Music Building I, and the Letourneau organ located in the Worship Hall of the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center.

Watch for more FAQs coming in the next months!