Pottle Music Building repairs underway


Austin O'Brien

The Ralph R. Pottle Music Building is currently closed to all students until repairs can be made.

As Southeastern students and faculty return to campus after the cleanup from Hurricane Ida, some departments at the school have had to deal with the challenge of damaged facilities.

The storm affected many different buildings throughout campus, including the Ralph R. Pottle Music Building located near Friendship Circle. The building, founded by Ralph R. Pottle Sr. in 1934, has been the center of SLU’s music program for nearly a century.

Some of the damages to the building include several gashes to one of the outside walls and fallen bricks within the musical annex. There is no major structural damage in the main parts of the building.

However, Pottle has been shut down for the week due to large amounts of water and mold in the building, making it a hazard for students and faculty. Students who had instruments in their lockers during the storm are unable to obtain them until the building is safe to enter.

The music department has had to push all classes this week to virtual learning so students can still learn and practice with their instruments.

“We are actually very fortunate because we have had several online classes these past few semesters, so this time we were definitely prepared for a smooth transition to virtual learning,” said Dr. Jeffrey Wright, head of the Department of Music and Performing Arts. 

Nonetheless, for students who still wish to practice their instruments for recitals, the damages have been an obstacle. 

“I personally live in an off-campus apartment, so not being able to practice in Pottle has made things difficult for me. For lessons classes we are allowed to practice on Google Meet calls, but not for specific courses like wind symphony and jazz band,” said Joshua Hebert, a senior music major whose primary instrument is the saxophone.

The damage on the side of the Ralph R. Pottle Music Building is covered in a tarp until repairs can be completed. (Austin O’Brien)

One fortunate group in the ensemble of music classes has been the choir, as they have managed to get a helping hand from a neighboring department. Certain choir classes are using the Teacher Education Center as a temporary classroom until Pottle can reopen. Instrumental classes have yet to do the same due to instruments still being trapped within Pottle.

As for the cleanup, the projected date by which Pottle will be ready to reopen is Monday, Oct. 4, according to Wright.

Wright said, “I am in close contact with Jeremy Brignac, the Environmental Health and Safety Director at SLU, and Vice President Domiano from Administration & Finance. We are working diligently to get everything ready for Monday.”

With roughly 40 recitals planned for this semester, the music department is focusing its efforts on making sure Pottle is ready for reopening as soon as possible. 

“We believe that since the building should be repaired in a week, things will be back to normal soon enough. Recitals and concerts will indeed be in the Pottle building but may be rescheduled for later than before,” Wright said.