Arts and Communication Building
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From 1890 to 1950, citrus was king along the San Gabriel Mountains in Los Angeles County, and La Verne was a center for orange growing, packing, and shipping. The La Verne Cooperative Citrus Association Packing House was one of a row of cavernous structures filled with machinery that moved, graded, packed, and shipped fruit with the willing assistance of a thousand hands of seasonal workers. Wagons and trucks brought fruit to docks and chutes on the north side of the building and boxed fruit, with distinctive collectable labels, were loaded into Santa Fe railcars on the south side for shipment to the world. After the fruit trees were uprooted and replaced with dwellings, the property was used as a warehouse or stood empty for three decades until the University of La Verne acquired it in 1988.
After structural improvements and minor remodeling, the University began using the dowager for warehousing and storage. In the mid-1990's a little additional remodeling converted the main floor into the Art Department and the basement into U.L.V. Graphics. Around the same time murals were painted on the community side of the building depicting historic, rural La Verne. The real transformation came in 2002 when Claremont Environmental Design Group turned the aging agricultural legacy into a sparkling, light-filled Art and Communications building. Its massive north-facing wall of glass provides near perfect light for art studio classes and the "Tall Art Gallery" while simultaneously illuminating the TV/radio/newspaper classroom and production areas as well as the ducts and corrugated metal features that create the ambiance of the former packing house. The building always seems alive with students engaged in studio or production activities.