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Oberlin College performing arts annex celebrated

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    Jane Nord, left, and Irene and Alan Wurtzel cut the ribbon to dedicate the Eric Baker Nord Performing Arts Annex in Oberlin on Thursday.

    STEVE MANHEIM /CHRONICLE

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    The Irene and Alan Wurtzel Theater in the Eric Baker Nord Performing Arts Annex in Oberlin Dec. 13.

    STEVE MANHEIM / CHRONICLE

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    Scene shop in the Eric Baker Nord Performing Arts Annex in Oberlin Dec. 13.

    STEVE MANHEIM / CHRONICLE

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OBERLIN — Oberlin College President Carmen Twillie Ambar reminded guests and students Thursday evening that the new performance arts annex was a product of generosity.

“You are absolutely impacted by the generosity of donors, no matter what you have happening on campus,” she said. “The ability to use this space or other opportunities on campus is impacted by other people’s generosity and commitment to Oberlin.”

Various guests attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday evening at the Eric Baker Nord Performing Arts Annex.

The project cost $13.4 million, which was covered by various donors including the Eric and Jane Nord Family Fund, and class of 1955 alumnus Alan Wurtzel and his wife, Irene.

The 45,000-square-foot performing arts annex is just one part of the multiphased renovation and addition project that includes the newly completed Irene and Alan Wurtzel Theater, a highly adaptable space that accommodates between 200 and 225 seats. Situated next to the 1953 Hall Auditorium, the annex serves the college’s theater, dance and opera departments.

The annex is named after Eric Baker Nord, who worked at the Hall Auditorium in the summer of 1970. Jane Nord said his time at the auditorium was incredibly meaningful.

“(The project’s renovations and additions) will serve the drama department and the community well, I’m sure,” she said. “Our family is proud to have been a part of this effort.”

The annex also has an expansive lobby, scene shop, costume shop with climate-controlled storage and laundry and a secure dressing area with a shower. It also has newly renovated and handicapped accessible restrooms, a green room, staging area and other spaces.

The annex officially opened last week with theater students like Robert Miller, a sophomore, and Jad Kaiss, a senior, enjoying the space.

“This lobby itself is a great place for theater students to just hang and do work,” Kaiss said.

Contact Bruce Walton at (440) 329-7123 or bwalton@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Facebook @BWalton440 or Twitter @BruceWalton.
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