The John and Marilyn Duke Academic Complex is a beautiful piece of architecture. The front glass radius distills afternoon light into the large foyer. A huge wooden cross bathes in the orange glow of the setting sun. Students and faculty gather and discuss assignments and theories. This one-time warehouse is now a fully functioning place of learning, another campus locale where students graduate to scholars, where believers become disciples.
University officials realized the need for a new academic complex on West Campus several years ago and approved it as part of the university’s master plan in 1996. In addition to several other building projects, the facility helps to alleviate crowding issues facing a growing student, faculty, and staff population.
The 58,926 square-foot interior of Duke adds an additional 30 percent of classroom space to the Azusa campus. Inside the two-story building are 12 “smart” classrooms (each with video projectors, VHS/DVD players, and computers), 6 seminar rooms, and a 94-seat lecture hall, which will be used by students of all disciplines. Art students have the opportunity to display their work in the new art gallery and the sleek two-story hallway that leads to the 55,000-volume James L. Stamps Theological Library. In addition, the completely wireless complex provides access to a myriad of online resources from every corner of the building.
A third library location is significant for an institution of APU’s size, and the resources are available to more than students. Interested local pastors and full-time ministry workers will be issued an ID card through the upcoming Partners in Ministry Program, offering full use of the facility, as well as discounts at the campus bookstore and sporting events. The library offers books, journals, and microfilms related to theology, religion, and philosophy, as well as special databases for advanced ministry studies and denominational collections. A reading room on the second floor includes study tables and couches. Natural light illuminates the stacks, and a direct connection to the Hugh and Hazel Darling Library makes multiple-subject research easier for students.
The building also exemplifies the commitment of individuals and organizations that value the challenge of the mind and the development of the heart. A significant lead gift from friends of APU, matching the largest gift in university history from individual donors, initiated the project. The Hugh and Hazel Darling Foundation, the Fletcher Jones Foundation, the James L. Stamps Foundation, the Ahmanson Foundation, the George I. Alden Trust, and others provided significant additional funding.
“The significance of the Duke Academic Complex cannot be overstated,” said Jon R. Wallace, DBA, president. “The addition of these classrooms, offices, and our third library has allowed precious new space to come on line at this very critical time. Last year, we were full in every classroom and had faculty doubled up in offices. Today, we will start the 2003-04 year with a facility that is truly God-honoring in its excellence, and equipped to further transformational scholarship.”