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Poster for a play presented in the
15th Street Lounge, 1980.


Other Campus Venues
The mid-20th century saw a huge increase in the number of students attending Rensselaer, including the arrival of “co-eds” in the 1940s. In the ensuing years numerous student activities and organizations were started to meet the needs and interests of an increasingly diverse student body.

In 1946 the Institute acquired a former USO building to house social activities and to provide additional study space. Known as the 15th Street Lounge, it became the home of the RPI Players in 1966 when the old Playhouse on Broadway was demolished. As the campus continued to grow, additional spaces became available for the performing arts, including the Field House (1949), West Hall (1953), the Rensselaer Union (1967), the Chapel and Cultural Center (1968), and the Darrin Communications Center (1973). These buildings provided a variety of needed spaces for performers of all types.

By the 1960s and 1970s, many people on campus longed to consolidate performing arts in a new building designed specifically for that purpose. Little did the arts community know it would have to wait several more decades for this idea to come to fruition.

Next: 15th Street Lounge


Cliff near the athletic field, 1924.

15th Street Lounge, 1948.

West Hall Auditorium, undated.

Chapel and Cultural Center, 1980.

Rensselaer Union,
1960s.

McNeil Room,
RPI Union, 1992.