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What is going on at Stetson University? Is it me, or is the school slowly but surely, piece by piece tearing apart the unique, irreplaceable physical qualities that make Stetson extremely special?

I realize I’m a bit late, but that Rinker “Welcome Center.” What in the name of a monstrosity is that building for exactly? 

I was speechless when I drove in the main entrance for the first time in more than 10 years. 

Plopped in the middle of what was once the central core of campus connecting the academic to the residential, the Welcome Center overpowers everything beautiful around it with obviously no thought to how such a structure would affect the surrounding landscape.

I thought it was replacing Stetson Hall and would be set back in basically the same place, but this is horrible! 

Forgiveness could be granted if it was a new performing-arts center (which is what I thought it was at first) or a new student union with a gym, workout facilities, and multiple dining options (a complaint of students going back decades). But a “welcome center”? 

Well, too late to do anything about it now, but I believe it can be said that Stetson is now officially in the habit of tearing things down, usually federal-register-type historical things, and not replacing them.

Stover Theater. Yes, the building had to go, but you replace it! The school for the first time in history is without a legitimate dramatic theater — the only school in the South without any modern performing-arts venue — seriously!

All fine-arts performances are relegated to an albeit beautiful chapel built in 1882 with wooden benches and temporary staging necessary for most events. 

We all love Elizabeth Hall, but when you compare what schools all over the country have done in the building of new, modern performing-arts facilities, this is going to be a problem moving forward.

With the phenomenal growth and talent of the School of Music, Lee Chapel has long outlived its use as the school’s one and only performance hall. Daytona State College, Rollins, even DeLand High School far outshine Stetson in this area, and that’s truly a shame.

How do you recruit top-of-the-line performers with such dated infrastructure?

And, also, Hulley Tower, once an icon of the campus, torn down and not replaced?

Is there a master plan or anything behind these decisions? Is anyone giving any thought to the future look and actual needs of our beloved school?

Of course Stetson must always be moving forward, but please, can we do it with some sense of priority, planning and style with respect to what is already there and the needs that already exist?

To the Rinker Welcome Center, I say what a waste!

— Seago, who lives in Palm City, graduated from Stetson University in 1993.

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