After 25 years, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) facilities at SOU are receiving new life.
OLLI’s program on the SOU campus operates from the Campbell Center – a pair of former World War II barracks with a courtyard between them, just west of the empty Cascade Complex. The old barracks have taken a beating, and for their 25th anniversary as OLLI’s home, the organization has launched a ReNEWall campaign to upgrade the facility with reconfigured classrooms and other refurbishing.
One classroom and the Campbell Center office were already renovated last year, making the classroom a preferred site for OLLI offerings. The addition of better lights, more comfortable chairs, and touchscreen technology helps make everything easier on OLLI’s older students.
Two more of the complex’s five classrooms are in line for remodeling next winter. But nearly $665,000 is needed for construction, technology and furnishings. More than $330,000 has been raised to date, and the balance is expected to be generated through grants and individual contributors. About a quarter of the cost, for infrastructure improvements, will be paid by SOU.
The OLLI facilities have a bit of a history. The barracks were originally part of Camp White, an Army training base and POW camp that transformed the Medford area during World War II. Hundreds of buildings were left behind after the war, and many were relocated all over southern Oregon.
The two that found their way to SOU were named for Phil Campbell, the university’s former facilities director, and have been used for a variety of purposes. The Campbell Center has been used at various times as dorms, married student housing, apartments, faculty housing, Elderhostel classrooms and SOU maintenance offices, and even now it is used during the summer by SOU Youth Programs.
OLLI member and wildlife artist Pam Haunschild is creating a black-and-white mural called the “Giving Garden” to measure fundraising for the Campbell Center’s renovation. The mural will be colored in as gifts are received. It will be hung in the new members’ lounge.
To learn more about the ReNEWall program or to make a contribution, call the OLLI office at (541) 552-6048 or email Lorraine Vail at email@example.com.
Story by Bryn Mosier, SOU Marketing and Communications intern