Historic auditorium saved

Posted: Tuesday, January 11, 2000

Sheldon Jackson College's Allen Auditorium has gone from the dump heap to the White House.

In 1994 the structure was scheduled for demolition. It was saved by the Sheldon Jackson Historic Site Preservation Society, a Sitka-based nonprofit group that has worked for the past four years to preserve and renovate the building.

The Allen building is the center structure of a complex of buildings erected in 1911 for the Sheldon Jackson School, which was later to become Sheldon Jackson College.

The building was recently recognized by the National Trust as one of America's 11 most endangered historic structures. Because of its role in the education of Alaska Natives and its significance in the cultural history of the United States, the college campus has been nominated as a National Historic Landmark.

With the support of U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, an Alaska Republican, Congress appropriated $1.7 million for renovation of Allen Auditorium this year. The college plans to use the renovated auditorium as a new Alaska Native studies center, but financial problems have brought the future of the college into question.

The White House cultural secretary requested a model of the auditorium for a Christmas display, in which ``Save America's Treasures'' projects were honored, said Bill Kleinert, who built the model.

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