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Warner Auditorium

The Largest Thin-Shell Concrete Dome in the World

In 1960, a severe snowstorm caused the forty-two-year-old tabernacle on the Anderson campgrounds to collapse. The Church of God International Convention had to be canceled for only the third time in its history.

By 1962, a new auditorium was completed on the campgrounds. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for Warner Auditorium on June 18th, 1962, the first day of the 73rd annual International Convention. On June 24th, the convention's final day, a dedication ceremony was also held. The auditorium was named for D. S. Warner, a founder of the Church of God movement in the 1880s.

Warner Auditorium was said to have the largest thin-shell concrete dome in the world – at the time, possibly, the largest circular dome to ever have been lifted. The dome, which weighed 3,000,000 pounds, was built using thin-shell concrete and supported by 36 steel columns. It was held in place by the post-tensioning method, which worked in a way similar to bands around a wooden barrel. Estimates suggested that it would take five hours to raise the roof from the ground. In reality, this took five days.

Ultimately, Warner Auditorium was 268 feet, 4 inches in diameter and 68 feet high. The building was designed for a growing convention, with 56,370 square feet holding 7,200 seats. In addition, there were plans to build balconies at a later date for a total of 12,000 seats.

Warner Auditorium was demolished in 2006 due to asbestos and other concerns with the building, including the acoustics and lack of heating and cooling systems. It had hosted 43 years of Church of God conventions and Anderson University commencements. The land was sold to Anderson University. 

References

  • Callen, Barry L. Guide of Soul and Mind: The Story of Anderson University. Anderson: Warner Press, 1992. Print.
  • "Warner Auditorium" Folder, A.C./A.U. Buildings Documents, Anderson University and Church of God Archives