Built in an eclectic contemporary style to harmonize with the older buildings nearby, the Harris Center was designed by architect Herbert Stone of Brown, Healey, Stone, and Sauer, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Opened in 1990, the center serves as a handsome facility for student activities, including concerts, movies, dances, and other large functions. The facilities include the concert hall, cinema, an attractive glass-walled lounge, and an exterior courtyard for outdoor concerts and other events. The memorial arch on the southwest side of the building honors Grinnellians who gave their lives in the country’s service. The center is named for John H. Harris ’39 and Lucile Hanson Harris ’40, the center’s primary benefactors.
The Harris Center is an "event" facility, including a concert hall, a cinema, two concession areas, and an informal lounge. The Grinnell Outdoor Recreation Program (GORP) office and equipment room are also located in the Harris Center. The Harris Center was designed to house large all-campus functions and weekend student activities. The Harris Center serves as a gathering place for student activities such as films, concerts, parties, talent shows, and novelty acts. It also serves as a center for large all-campus activities such as meetings, wellness programs, orientations, convocations, luncheons, and registration.
This 500-seat hall, highlighted by a glass tower and a wooden dance floor, is open for dances, concerts, all-campus parties, and other events. Other features include a basic reinforcement sound system for a six-mike input, a live 24-input entertainment sound system, DJ-disco sound system, and up-to-date lighting system. Reservations for any space in the Harris Center can be made by contacting the Forum Office.
A 400-seat theatre is the site for films shown each weekend by the Student Government Association (SGA). Other special interest films are shown during the week. Two Eiki Xenon 16mm projectors; Christie 35mm projector with Dolby digital surround sound capabilities, a video projection system including a laser disc player, 1/2 inch VCR, and 3/4 inch VCR; a three-channel audio playback sound system, and a four-mike input public address system are available. The cinema also is wired for cable television.
Popcorn and soft drinks are available in this area during scheduled films. The Harris Center staff operates the cinema concession.
An attractive informal glass-walled lounge is available as a study area or meeting location during open building hours.
This exterior space may be used for outdoor concerts, movies, and other outside events. A sound system is available.