On Nov. 11, 1921, hundreds of local residents and schoolchildren gathered to honor the anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I to dedicate the newly built Patriot Hall to Clatsop County’s veterans.
Rev. William S. Gilbert, who suggested the name Patriot Hall, talked about the significance of Armistice Day “predicting an understanding between the civilized nations of the world that would banish wars for all times and result in nations settling international disputes without bloodshed,” according to an article in the Astorian Budget the following day.
Congress in 1954 changed Armistice Day to Veterans Day to honor all those who served.
On Saturday, Clatsop Community College leaders gathered the community to honor Veterans Day and to rededicate the recently redeveloped Patriot Hall, opened for fall term courses.
“The men and women who are in our armed forces, their sacrifice is something that I am humbled by,” college President Christopher Breitmeyer said. “I am honored that we have a building on our campus that is dedicated to them and their service.”
The celebration included renditions of the national anthem, “My Country, Tis of Thee” and taps by a collection of North Coast bands and singers. The American Legion’s Clatsop Post 12 performed a ceremony for prisoners of war and those still missing in action.
Accompanying the original dedication of Patriot Hall was a bronze shield that now hangs outside the building’s third-floor entrance on Lexington Avenue.
Breitmeyer and board members unveiled a new glass-capped plaque marking the rededication with an excerpt — “the last full measure of devotion” — from President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address during the Civil War, also on the original shield. The new plaque will hang just inside the entrance.
The college predicted an 8 percent jump in tuition and fee revenue for the coming academic year, much of it tied to the new medical and physical educational offerings in Patriot Hall.
JoAnn Zahn, the college’s vice president of finance and operations, reported recently that about 350 students registered for Bandit Fitness Club, the college’s mechanism for allowing public access to the hall’s elevated running track, cardio machines and weightlifting areas in exchange for at least one credit per term.
Margaret Frimoth, vice president of academic affairs, said the building’s classrooms and studios are in use for yoga, dance and other physical education classes. The college is still developing new classes and programs in the building.
The facility also hosts emergency medical technician courses, the beginnings of a full-fledged program the college is trying to start.
“We’re still waiting for a few things in the floor to be fixed permanently, to get some nets up, and that will bring in additional revenue with classes, with volleyball and badminton, that can’t start yet, so we’re waiting for that,” she said.
“We’re still on a roll-up of new classes and new programs, and then it’s just going to get better.”