New amphitheater honors Barnard

Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Former U.S. Rep. D. Douglas Barnard Jr. acknowledges the cheering crowd before speaking at a dedication ceremony for Augusta State University's new amphitheater. The theater was named in his honor.

Former U.S. Rep. D. Douglas Barnard Jr. returned to his alma mater Tuesday as Augusta State University honored him by dedicating the school's new amphitheater in his name.

Mr. Barnard stood with his old neighbor former Georgia Gov. Carl E. Sanders and his friend Superior Court Judge J. Carlisle Overstreet as they cut the ribbon on the newest addition to the campus, which has witnessed significant growth and has seen several new buildings rise in the past eight years.

"The naming of this facility in my honor is the highest honor I could ask for," Mr. Barnard said.

The open-air, 1,000-seat facility was built in the "hub of the campus" on the site of Hardy Hall, one of the school's old warehouse buildings that was torn down several years ago, said Therese Rosier, ASU's assistant vice president for plant operations.

"It is the center of campus and intended to be an architectural bridge from the buildings from the 1800s and the newest buildings that surround us," Ms. Rosier said.

"It had to be both spectacular and useful," she said.

Officials hope the theater's wi-fi capability, coupled with a series of productions on the site, will make it a gathering place for students in the heart of the campus.

"The kids have already found they can just sit around here and linger," Ms. Rosier said.

The facility was named after Mr. Barnard at the behest of Judge Overstreet, who donated money for its completion.

Introducing Mr. Barnard, Mr. Sanders called him a "vital cog" in the university's development by helping it acquire property on Wrightsboro Road to house the Christenberry Field House.

"Doug Barnard has had an integral part in everything I can think of in reference to this college," Mr. Sanders said.

Reach Adam Folk at (706) 823-3339 or adam.folk@augustachronicle.com.