Multi-Media Conference Facilities to be Added at The Patton Campus


Looking over the plans for multi-media conference center to be added to Memorial Hall (in background) on the Patton Campus are (l-r): Carl R. Flohr, Chairman of the Masonic Homes' Building and Grounds Subcommittee; James L. Ernette, R.W. Grand Master; and Joseph E. Murphy, Executive Director/CEO of the Masonic Homes.

Construction of a major addition and renovations soon to get underway at the Masonic Conference Center on the Patton Campus at Elizabethtown will provide a complete, modern multi-media amphitheater.

When the Patton Masonic School was renovated in 1983 to create the Masonic Conference Center, it was designed to take a school for boys and develop a youth center for 160 participants. Although it was anticipated that some adults would use the facility, it was never imagined that the number of adults staying at the campus would grow to exceed the use by youth. Today, with the many drug and alcohol prevention programs offered to train teachers in the Student Assistance Program, and law enforcement officers in the D.A.R.E. program, the Masonic Conference Center currently hosts more than 7,000 guests each year.

Recognizing the changing trend, R.W. Grand Master James L. Ernette envisioned a training center that would meet the growing educational and conference needs of the Fraternity and the charitable causes it benefits. Memorial Hall, which originally was the educational center for the former Patton Masonic School, will have a new structure added to the front of the building. Included in the addition will be the new amphitheater/conference room, six break-out rooms, a registration center and a multi-purpose lobby. Work is scheduled to continue throughout 1998. Occupancy is anticipated by December.

In addition, the dormitory rooms, which were installed during the 1983 renovation, will be upgraded to included private bathrooms to supplement the dormitory-style shower and lavatory facilities on each floor. Air conditioning will be added to all living quarters to make the facility more comfortable for conference participants. A complete decorative make-over of the original building will be included in the project.

The new lobby area will be constructed at the front-center of the current building, with the meeting rooms to the north and the amphitheater to the south. It will be a grand space with a high ceiling capped with full room-length skylights, which will be defined by the peaks of the original roof (see concept above and photograph at left). The facade of the original entrance will be preserved inside this space to display some of the heritage of the Patton School. It will serve as a central gathering area for conference participants, and for other activities which meet programming needs.

While this renovation and addition is a result of the growing adult use of the Campus, it should not be inferred that the use by our Masonic youth has been reduced or declined over the years. The Masonic Conference Center-Patton Campus has become known as a facility which is ideally situated for a retreat or educational seminar for participants of all ages. Unlike any other Masonic facility in the world, it will soon combine a youthful atmosphere with a high-tech comfortable adult learning center.