History, future come together

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By Erika Perez

By Erika Perez

Walking past the A.G. Paul Quadrangle, or “Quad” as it’s referred to, with its renovated exterior, it is easy to take for granted how historic the Quad really is.

With the newness of the structure, you can’t imagine what school activities have taken place or how students spent their time there a mere 20 years ago, much less 85 years ago.

Riverside was one of the wealthiest cities in the nation during the 1920s and its well educated, agricultural community wished to have their children educated without having to send them out of the area.

Thanks to the Thompson Act of 1907, a legislation that enabled high schools to offer post graduate courses, Riverside City College was originally established as Riverside Junior College, a college program offered at Polytechnic Boys High School in 1916.

College courses were first conducted at the original Poly high school site located just northeast of the corner of Terracina Drive and Riverside Avenue (now known as Mine’Okubo Avenue).

During its first semester, 22 classes were offered using 14 rooms in Poly High School.

Urged on by a persuasive campaign led by the students and faculty of RCC starting in 1920, the college moved just a little ways away to a newly constructed campus in 1924.

The Quad was designed by G. Stanley Wilson in the Italian and Spanish renaissance style.

During an interview in 2007, RCC Chancellor Salvatore Rotella said, “In 1992 I first came to Riverside . . . of course, there was no question that the heart and the real core place from where the college evolved is the Quad.”

The new separate college campus was bordered by Terracina Drive on the north, Fairfax Avenue on the south and Riverside Avenue on the east and homes surrounded the entire campus.

The original structure included two main buildings, an Assembly and Music hall-library, which is now the north wing of classrooms facing the football field, and what was known as the Science Hall, which is now the east side facing Landis Auditorium.

More structures were added in steps starting in 1928 with an auditorium, more classrooms and faculty offices.

An outdoor stage was constructed in 1932 on the west side, facing into the Quad. The Quad as we now know it was not completed until the late 1930’s to early 1940’s.

The outdoor stage was demolished in 1968 to make way for a new west entrance, built in 1970-1971 which stood until the last renovation in 2005.

The original parts of the structure still stand and the most recent renovation compliments the style of those parts.

The detail of the original structure can still be seen on the decorative pieces found on columns, windows and entrances.

Part of a sundial stands to this day but is not the original sundial donated to the college in 1923.

The original sundial was stolen and promptly replaced with the existing theft-proof pedestal and a sturdier dial.

Other features are a clock tower in the northeast corner which was part of the original plans but not added until 2005.

A Faculty Emeriti court and memorial were added to the Quad in the 80s and still exist there today.

As the years passed, buildings were added to the original structure to form the existing Quad and the campus expanded to include the old Polytechnic High School site with updated buildings, a new Landis Auditorium and administration offices.

The most recent renovation to the Quad took place a few years ago and as stated by then Board of Trustees President, Mary Figueroa during the 2007 rededication ceremony, “it is the coming together of the history and the future to benefit the students and this community.”

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