|In the spring 2000 issue we asked for your memories of the Spori Building. We are grateful for your many responses.
Printed here are some of the ‘best,’ meaning those deemed most interesting, most amusing, most anecdotal. They have been edited due to space limitations and content not pertinent to the Spori Building.
"The Spori Building —here is where I went to most of my classes.
The building entrance was large and a wide staircase led up halfway (to the second floor) straight ahead and then branched to both sides. Stairways then went on up to the library on the third floor. On April Fools Day one year someone smeared Limburger cheese on the cream colored handrails. Consequently we were rather smelly for a time. The thick rock walls gave a feeling of strength and steadfastness. I am sorry to know it has to come down." Kathryn Miles Tracy Aldridge (former student, left in 1941)
"In the building, Sunday School meetings were held in less than good conditions, including a chilly building because the heat was turned down on weekends. An interesting remark made was, ‘The Gospel must be true. Just sitting in a desk in Sunday School makes chills go up and down my spine lasting for the entire meeting.’ I remember sneaking out the northeast room windows with Hugh Bennion, who was then a student, to go on short ‘field trips’ like Evan’s Ice Cream Parlor without anybody else finding out; until one time we were late getting back and all got caught and chastised."
Clair Blaser (former student, left in 1942; retired instructor, 1964–1990) Rexburg, Idaho
"The second floor of the Spori Building was the principal headquarters area for the school with the offices for the President and the Registrar being located there. All others on the staff were full-time instructors except for one full-time janitor, who, with some parttime help, cleaned all the halls and rooms, stoked the furnace, watered and mowed the lawns in the summer, sanded and refinished the gym floor when it was needed, and then was criticized when he occasionally took an afternoon off to go fishing with Doc Morrell or Hugh Bennion or me.
"On the third floor, the four corner rooms were classrooms, but the rest of the area was the library, where one librarian with a little part-time student help provided the library support function. The librarian also watched the clock and manually rang the bells for the beginning and ending of each class, if she didn’t forget.
"A variety of other changes took place in the Spori Building which included the remodeling following World War II which changed the stairway system, improved the electrical lighting system, installed new hardwood flooring and a variety of other improvements. Later, the Bookstore was moved across the hall to the three rooms formerly occupied by the business department, the administrative offices were improved and expanded, the Registrar’s Office and the Business Office were moved to the first floor because of their need for more space.
"As new buildings were completed, various functions were moved out, such as the library, the bookstore, and finally the entire administration. Even since this move (in 1976), the Spori has changed its interior to accomodate the Art and Music Departments."
(The above is from an Honors Lecture given at Ricks in April 1978.)
Eldred Stephenson (retired Registrar from 1937 to 1978)
"In my mind, I walked through rock pillars at the entrance of the campus on the north, up a long cement sidewalk with beautiful big lawns and some trees that have been replaced by modern buildings. We played football and made snowmen and had archery classes on those lawns. There were large windows with deep window sills where I used to sit and eat my lunch. There was a hallway (on the main floor) west of the men’s locker room, leading to an outside entrance to the heating plant and to a very small parking area. The southwest room on the main floor was the Student Union Room. There were chairs, divans, tables, a phonograph with several records used for dances after M.I.A. and other times. It was a place to relax and to have meetings and club parties. In the library long tables, with chairs that would seat about eight students, filled the study area. Book stacks were to the north, I think, and resource material seemed quite adequate for us.
Helen Mae Hillman Andrus (former student, left in 1943) Alpine, Utah
"Every morning I remember the Spori Building looming in the distance as we trudged up the hill, bent to the wind and cold, on our way to breakfast at the cafeteria that was further on up the hill. I was in the Spori Building just outside Brother Manwaring’s psychology class when my future husband (Ken Dixon) asked me for our first date to Homecoming —which led to our marriage almost a year later. One day I was going upstairs to the library when I found Carma Albretsen sitting in a garbage can on one of the landings. Her arms, legs and head were all we could see. We kept her there until we could get a picture —that I later put in the Rixida with the caption, ‘Clean up day a success!’ Carma was secretary to President Clarke. She was always such a good sport."
Dixie Gardner Dixon (former student, left in 1951) Jerome, Idaho
"In 1956, while attending Ricks College, I worked as a secretary for Eldred Stephenson in the Registrar’s office in the Spori Building. Among my duties were taking and transcribing shorthand; typing letters for both the Registrar and the President; keeping and filing the records of transcripts; figuring grade point averages; sending transcripts; greeting people as a receptionist; assisting Brother Stephenson in overseeing the bookstore; running the telephone system as PBX operator; copying materials for classroom teachers; and sorting the daily mail and distributing it through mail boxes located in the Spori.
"Since we had so many different jobs to keep track of (without computers, of course), we had a few humorous experiences. The one I remember the most was a conference call with President Clarke and several general authorities of the Church. I had a lot of other calls hooked into the telephone board at the same time and, as I attempted to disconnect one of these calls, I inadvertently pulled the plug (literally) on President Clarke. Needless to say, I was horrified when I realized what I had done and my heart was really pounding. I shouldn’t have been so upset, for I knew what a kind man President Clarke was. He rang me back on the switchboard and said, ‘Carol, I don’t know what happened, but I was disconnected somehow.’ I apologized and got the others back on the line. Nothing more was said of the incident, but I have never forgotten the experience."
Carol Walters Barrus (former student, left in 1957; member of adjunct music faculty) Rexburg, Idaho
"A long time ago (1964 to early 1970s) I had the opportunity to have an office in the Spori Building and became very fond of that structure. For several years my office opened onto the east side of the second-floor balcony on the north side of the building. During the warm summer days when I had some reading to do, I would raise the lower window, put a chair out on the balcony, climb through the window, lean back on the chair, prop my feet up on the railing, and —like the students on the lawn on a warm spring day—pretend to be studying diligently. It was delightful. Later (1968) some of the administrative personnel were shifted, and my office became the one which opened up onto the west side of the balcony. My strategy for engaging in serious reading on pleasant summer days was still occasionally implemented. I think I was the only one who was able to enjoy this privilege from two locations. The only negative aspect of this endeavor was the droppings left by the pigeons who liked to frequent the balcony a little too often."
Alan Clark (retired instructor & director of institutional research, 1964-1994) Rexburg, Idaho
"It’s with great sadness that I hear the Spori Building is going to be knocked down. I cleaned the second floor of the Spori with Bob Hicks as my boss. Without that job I could not have attended Ricks College. One morning I was picking up trash on the second floor. I had previously locked President Clarke’s office door. Then I heard someone pulling on the door from the inside. I quickly went to check and, to my surprise, out walked President Clarke. I apologized for locking him in. To my amazement he replied with a big smile that he was glad I was doing a good job. Many such experiences made me feel welcome at Ricks. I had joined the Church three weeks before I went to Ricks. I was a very quiet person with low self-esteem. Being there helped me to grow in a nourishing environment with professors who went out of their way to help me succeed as a student."
Gloria Hurlbut Grabert (former student, left in 1971) Fort Worth, Texas
"The memories fill my eyes with tears as I think back of all the great things that happened in the Spori Building in Home Economics. About 1948, Virginia Perkins set up a new foods and sewing labs, plus a lecture room on the top floor. These rooms were at the entrance to the library. The smell from the foods lab caused a stomach dilemma to library attendees. They always seemed to have some remark about what needed to be done, etc. After coming to Ricks in 1953 I taught all the clothing, consumer economics, family finance classes and was the child development teacher. My office was really an unusual one. It consisted of a small desk in the library. I never did have much empathy for someone who complained about his or her office. The Spori will always be a place of renewal and remembering, not only for students, but for faculty as well. The thick walls, high windows, hardwood floors, and lessons taught, I hope, will be a lasting memory for those who sacrificed so much to building a place of learning. I only hope that we have been a credit to this great edifice."
(The Home Economics Department was moved out of the Spori building in 1973.)
Helen Lamprecht (retired instructor, 1953-1988) Rexburg, Idaho
"In 1984 we were able to purchase a small low-power transmitter. We wired it into the studio with the transmitter mounted up on KRIC’s old tower on the north side of the Spori Building. What a thrill that was running the cables up into the attic of the Spori and seeing the history there. Some of the cable runs were up one of the old chimneys. I was even brave enough to crawl inside of one of them and retrieved a flashlight that someone had dropped inside years earlier. The lumber in the attic looked all original and appeared to be rough cut. A lot of it had sap still oozing out of it. I recall running the stairs on the east side several times a day. I had it down to a science. Jump the first four, then two the rest of the way up without skipping a stride or slowing down. Out of all the buildings on campus, this one had personality. It was a wonderful building. It was the only one on campus with real character. The Spori seemed to embody everything about Ricks College. That grand old building will be missed."
Sugar City, Idaho
Robert Schultz (former student, left in 1985; employee since 2000)
"The Spori building is a beautiful building and a shame that it is not salvageable, but a reminder that the only things we can take with us is our memories, talents, and personality. Though I may never see the old Spori building again, my memories will always be with me, and with them I am content."
Jennifer I. Boyer Clark (former student, left in 1988) Choteau, Mont.
"I remember spending time late at night up in the radio station (KWBH), looking out the third floor window across the dark, snowy campus. The heaters were always on too high, so I would often have the window open for the fresh, chilly, country air. We felt we were the voice of the student body, if only we could get some of those students to listen. And, when it was all done, we would wind our way down the stairs to leave the building, stopping to see the best art on campus displayed in our lobby. The Spori was our building. It was where we spent our time. It was where we learned about our futures. It will be missed."
Aaron Merrell (former student, left in 1995) Van Nuys, Calif.
"I remember the building like it was yesterday—the sun coming in through the glass foyer; the lack of air conditioning and the over-active heat; the museum-like feeling in the lobby; the sidewalk in front of the building that I slipped on in front of the entire Scroll staff; the thin industrial carpet. The classroom where I gave my first speech. The office where Brother Warnick told me I was a good writer. The class that gave me the direction for what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Life also went on after we knew we could not longer enjoy the Spori every day. The old water pipes and creaking sounds can no longer be a part of my life, but I am definitely a part of the life of that building."
Stephanie Lane Stempinski (former student, left in 1995) Athens, Ga.
"Working on the Scroll meant I spent a lot of time in the Spori building. And being a communications major meant I had quite a few classes there. My newspaper job required me to be in the office early some mornings, and one semester I had an early class on the top floor. Hiking those stairs was always a feat, but the trip down was great because I found that the Spori had the best sliding railings in the whole school! Smooth, polished wood allowed for maximum speed, and I would ride the rails down the entire stairwell every time I was up there. It decreased travel time by at least three quarters, and, aside from the ‘bang!’ as my feet hit the landing, it was the quickest way to get down the stairs.
Tami Greene (former student, left in 1998) Pleasant Grove, Utah
Editor’s note: All replies, in edited form, will be contained in an over-sized souvenir book the college is planning to publish next year. (Look for details in our spring 2001 issue.) That means you still have time to mail, or e-mail, us your memories of the Spori Building. Replies received after Jan. 1, 2001, will not be useable in the book. Write us at Editor, Summit Magazine, c/o Ricks College, Rexburg, Idaho 83460-1660 or e-mail me at email@example.com
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