Whittier College gave the city a break from its earthquake demolition tasks last week when officials broke ground for the college's long-awaited performing arts center.
Whittier Mayor Gene H. Chandler, one of several speakers at the ground-breaking ceremony, told a crowd of college supporters, "We are surrounded by destruction, but like a phoenix bird we will rise from the rubble. . . . We say thank you, Whittier College, your timing is perfect."
Construction of the $7-million center is expected to begin early next year, with completion scheduled for September, 1989. The 27,000-square-foot, Mediterranean-style building will include a 500-seat theater, a small experimental theater and an art gallery. It also will house the theater arts and speech communication departments.
Since Founder's Hall was destroyed by fire nearly 20 years ago, the college has had to use the Whittier Community Center and the college chapel for performances.