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Hall perfect for major hearings

First, funds must be raised to redo Women's Club ':z.. I II ~}7


By Howard Huntington of the Daily Courier

Josephine County will have a meeting hall with triple its current capacity if enough money can be raised to remodel an auditorium next to the courthouse in Grants Pass. The Women's Club Auditorium, at 604N.W. Sixth St., would. become the Anne Basker Auditorium in honor of the late community leader. Citizens would no longer have to squeeze into a room in the courthouse that has a legal capacity of only 70 - and seats far fewer in comfort. Now, when there is a hot issue, many people are left standing in the hall. Once renovated, theauditorium would seat 217, according to Cherryl Walker, chair of the Anne Basker Auditorium Renovation Committee. The county-owned auditorium opened in 1928and was the longtime home of the Grants Pass Women's Club before fading membership prompted the group to disband last year. The Renovation Committee wants to repaint the auditorium, improve lighting, install new flooring and buy new furniture. A new sound system would be included, and access for the disabled would be upgraded. Land between the auditorium and the Grant Pass Municipal Building would be cleared for a parking lot for the disabled and for deliveries. In addition to accommodating meetings of the county Board of Commissioners and other government agencies, the building could be' used for news conferences and community functions. The newly organized Renovation Committee is.intent on doing a professional job and plans to hire an architect, Walker said. Estimates aren't yet available. The commissioners may help launch the project Wednesday by officially renaming the auditorium after Basker during their regular _ public business meeting at 9 a.m. in Room 156of the courthouse. Basker was the county's first woman commissioner, and cofounded the Oregon Institute' of Alcoholic Studies. She also was a leader in community and natural-resource groups: She was twice named woman of the year by the Grants PassJosephine County Chamber of Commerce. A Grants Pass resident, Basker died in 1994at age 70.

ERIC WELCH/Daily

Courier

Cherryl Walker is chairing drive to renovate the hall as the Anne Basker Auditorium. Basker, said Walker, worked hard all her life to provide opportunities for others in education, employment, arts and government. - everything she was involved in. "I think it is appropriate that this meeting place that-we need would be named for- a person who worked so much to enhance those opportunities," said Walker. Fred Murschall, treasurer for the group, said he knew Basker for 30 years. "She is an inspiration to all kinds of people. She is one of the reasons that both of my kids went to Ivy League schools," he said. Contributions are taxdeductible, Make checks out. to Josephine County Anne Basker Auditorium and send them to Fred Murschall, 121 N.E. B St., Grants Pass, OR 97526. For details, call Walker, 8622302;or Murschall, 479-9775.