Lecture hall transformed into flexible multipurpose space

Published: February 24, 2022

By Annette Brill Bergstresser

Members of the AMBS campus community hold a ribbon during a ribbon cutting ceremony for the updated Room 116 in Waltner Hall.
President David Boshart, (center), cuts a ribbon to celebrate the remodeling of AMBS’s Waltner Hall Room 116 on Feb. 16, 2022. (l. to r.) Paul Banchasawan, a student from Lomkao District, Petchabu Province, Thailand; Jeff Marshall, Director of Maintenance and Campus Safety; Norm Cender, Assistant Director of Maintenance; Boshart; Deanna Risser, Vice President for Administration and CFO; Melika Kauffman Hershberger, a student from Normal, Illinois; and Janeen Bertsche Johnson, Director of Campus Ministries. (Credit: Rachel Fonseca)

ELKHART, Indiana — The Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) community held a ribbon cutting Feb. 16, 2022, to celebrate the completed remodeling of the seminary’s largest classroom into three smaller, flexible, partitioned classrooms — each fully equipped to handle today’s needs for technological connection.

According to Deanna Risser, MBA, Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer, the size and lecture-hall style of Room 116 in Waltner Hall no longer worked well for the seminary’s courses, which have become smaller and more interactive as its distance education offerings have increased. The room — rarely used in recent years — was in major need of updates.

“It’s exciting to have reached this milestone of completion and to have this space available for classes, meetings, seminars and programs by AMBS and others,” she said at the ribbon cutting. “I look forward to seeing this space be used regularly to continue to advance AMBS’s mission of educating leaders for the church and world.”

Deanna Risser, MBA, Vice President for Administration and CFO, speaks to those gathered at the ribbon cutting to celebrate the remodeling of AMBS’s Waltner Hall Room 116.
Deanna Risser, MBA, Vice President for Administration and CFO, speaks to those gathered at the ribbon cutting to celebrate the remodeling of AMBS’s Waltner Hall Room 116 on Feb. 16, 2022. (Credit: Rachel Fonseca)

As part of the remodeling, which began in the summer of 2021, the room’s stadium-style floor was filled in, and interior walls were added to create three multipurpose rooms with movable partitions. Using a combination of federal pandemic funding and contributions, the seminary partnered with DJ Construction of Goshen, Indiana, on the work, with the assistance of Jeff Marshall, MDiv, Director of Maintenance and Campus Safety; Norm Cender, Assistant Director of Maintenance; and student workers. Brent Graber, MA, Director of Information Technology (IT), oversaw the addition of the IT components.

“I want to say a huge ‘thank you’ to Jeff and Norm for their planning, coordination, expense management and many hours of work on this space,” Risser said. “And to Brent for his many hours of tech installation and troubleshooting to make this a ‘connected’ space with the technology that we have come to depend on.”

President David Boshart, PhD, who also spoke at the ribbon cutting, noted, “Changing Room 116 from a lecture hall into a flexible space with enhanced technological connectivity is a symbol of how we adapt our teaching methods to the many ways that students learn at AMBS.”

Waltner Hall Room 116 shown before the remodeling with rows of desks in an stadium-style arrangement. (Credit: Jewel Gingerich Longenecker)
Waltner Hall Room 116 before the remodeling. (Credit: Jewel Gingerich Longenecker)
An open room with freshly poured concrete.
AMBS’s Waltner Hall Room 116 after the stadium-style floor was filled in. (Credit: Norm Cender)

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