New art building set for winter 2002 completion

by Tess Langfus

Leaving behind flocks of birds and rodents that infest the old Art Building, art students will soon preen their creativity in new surroundings.
A new art building, built in two sections and connected by a skyway, will mark the completion of the West Bank Arts Quarter that includes the Rarig Center, the Ted Mann Concert Hall, the Barbara Barker Center for Dance and Ferguson Hall.
The building will afford the art students better interaction with the other students in the arts quarter, said Eric Kruse, vice president of University Services, at Thursday’s regents meeting.
“(The building) is peaceful, it fits the ambiance of the community, it ties in carefully with the art district work of that community,” said Regent Robert Bergland.
The new Art Teaching and Research Facility will replace the existing Art Building, considered inadequate and unsafe by faculty and students in the art department.
Melissa Frankman, an art senior, often had to leave the building or use an inhaler to combat her asthma in class because of the building’s poor ventilation.
Yet, when windows were left open for circulation, birds would fly in and damage students’ artwork with their droppings.
The new building will hold rooms for a variety of art courses, including studios for drawing, painting and sculpture, as well as industrial-type studios for ceramics and metal foundry. There will be also be a digitizing library and computer art laboratories, as well as instructional rooms and large rooms for presentations and critiques.
Construction of the 146,000 square foot building is scheduled to begin in March 2001 with a projected completion date of December 2002.
Kruse also said during the regents meeting that construction on the Riverbed Commons residential building will commence on Monday.

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