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The Rose Center for the Arts is the most elegant public building in Cowlitz County, with sweeping expanses of wood paneling and a mural by a nationally recognized painter in the lobby.

The state-of-the-art building defines the edge of the campus and provides not only classrooms and offices, but rehearsal, performance and exhibit spaces designed to showcase a variety of arts and cultural events.

Features include a glass enclosed lobby, 525-seat performance auditorum, 125-seat thrust theatre, art gallery, rehearsal rooms, costume shops, dressing rooms, classrooms, music practice rooms and offices.

Extensive use of timber, made possible by a donation from the Rose family, establishes a bond with the region's history of lumber production. Fir and cherry wood paneling enhance the aesthetics, along with state-of-the-art variable acoustics, sound systems and lighting.

Architect: opsis Architecture,

Contractor: Howard S. Wright 

Project Cost: $26 million

Completion: 2008

  Rose Center for the Arts

Programs Include:

Arts & Culture

Arts and entertainment offerings for students and community members.

Forsberg Art Gallery

Exhibits featuring local and regional artists.

Drama Program

Stage productions by students and community members.

Music Program

Musical performances by students and community members.

Public Art Installation:

Lobby Mural

Where Water Comes Together with Other Water

The lobby mural by Portland artist Lucinda Parker is 40 feet long and 10 feet tall. After extensive research into the local area, Parker chose to create an abstract scene of the roaring Columbia River rushing into the Pacific Ocean in Longview, home of Lower Columbia College.

The mural also includes a night-to-day theme. The left side is darker with a moon in the sky, the middle shows the midday sun, and a sun sets over the river on the right side.

It is visible from campus through the Center's large front windows.

Performance Features Include:

Wollenberg Auditorium

click above to see photos of this auditorium.

The 525-seat performance auditorium has state of the art variable acoustics, sound systems and lighting. To enhance the audience's experience and celebrate the local area, fir slats and cherry panels line the seating chamber. The fir panels on the cheek walls and ceiling improve the acoustics of the room.

Bosendorfer Imperial Grand Piano

click above to see photos of this piano.

The Bosendorfer Imperial Grand Piano features a full eight octaves. It was made possible by the generous donation of Ken and Pat Hanson.

Center Stage Theatre/Lecture Hall

The 125-seat theatre is designed as a thrust theatre to enhance the audience's connection with the performance or lecture. The configuration allows for unlimited set-up flexibility for performances, while also serving as a lecture and instructional space.

Ken & Pat Hanson Rehearsal Hall

The rehearsal hall is lined with articulated maple panels designed to disperse sound waves evenly throughout the space. Variable acoustic curtains can be deployed at the touch of a button to change the acoustic setup of the room. This allows the room to adjust to the needs of a 40 piece orchestra, a jazz quartet or a single lecturer.

Forsberg Art Gallery

Twenty foot high walls allow ample space and complete flexibility for the display of art. The second level of the gallery is more intimate in nature and will display special items and the college's permanent collection, much of which has been donated. Natural light from a slot skylight gently illuminates the room to enhance the overall experience in the gallery.

Recording Studio

The walls are 12 inches thick and all surfaces are isolated from one another to prevent sound transfer. The floor is designed with one slab floating over the structural concrete deck to ensure minimal sound bleed from one floor to another.

Building Features include:

Frame and Structure

Concrete and masonry block make up the main walls of the building. This minimizes the transfer of sound in the performance spaces. The steel framing in the remainder of the building creates a light and open feeling in the building's interior spaces. The geological history of the site, which includes a high water table and layers of river sediment, required intensive site stabilization. Geopeirs were used on the sub grade to stabilize the sandy soils on the site. The geopeirs act as hundreds of stabilizers below the building and provide a firm foundation for the structure above. The wood used inside and out celebrates the region's connection to the lumber industry. Cedar siding adorns portions of the building while fir, maple and cherry panels add a touch of warmth and refinement to the public spaces. The incorporation of wood into the project was made possible by a generous donation from the Rose Family.


Underfloor radiating panels in the lobby help reduce the cost of heating and cooling the facility. A building automation system measures the amount of light coming into various spaces and adjusts the lighting, avoiding waste. Sensors in the offices and classrooms detect the presence of people, turning the lights on and off, and helping to offset the building's carbon footprint.


State of the art equipment in the classrooms with touch screens for overhead projection and video equipment allow for enhanced lectures. The building contains miles of wiring to support these capabilities. Audio from all of the performance spaces are wired to a centralized archival recording room and the recording studio.


The lobby floor features a radiant heating system to reduce heating and cooling costs. The terrazzo floor tile adds to the beauty of the space and was one of the enhancements made possible by the Rose Family donation.


State of the art Crestron lighting system senses the light coming in the windows and lowers and raises the light levels based on the intensity of the exterior light. The office and classroom spaces are equipped with motion sensors that turn the lights on or off depending on occupancy of the room. This programming allows the college to minimize power usage and address environmental concerns.

Buildings & Facilities Contacts

Plant Operations

  Richard Hamilton, Director, Campus Services

  (360) 442-2263


  Wendy Hall, Assoc. Vice President, Effectiveness & College Relations

  (360) 442-2491


  Alyssa Milano-Hightower, Director of Enterprise Services

  (360) 442-2241

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