After almost three years of consultation, negotiations and planning, the construction of the new arts space is officially under way as shovels hit the ground in a groundbreaking ceremony yesterday afternoon.
Student leaders and representatives from the Arts Student Union (ASU) and the Arts Endowment Fund (AEF) joined Douglas Peers, the dean of arts, as they posed for cameras, faculty, staff, and student attendees with shovels on hand to mark the beginning of the Hagey Hall extension project.
The initiative was brought forth after a 2012 survey held by the ASU indicated the desire for a new meeting space for arts students. Since then, the AEF has allocated a total of $300,000 towards the building, sourced entirely from student contributions.
The goal for the space is to enhance student life by creating a sense of community within the arts faculty. During his ceremony speech, ASU president Dylan Ball said, “Students in the arts faculty currently have no place on this campus to meet, collaborate, and interact, and the community might seem a little fractured because we’re forced to spread out all over campus in order to find places to study. This will bring our students back to the home base and really allow students to create the arts community that students deserve to have.”
Hannah Beckett, AEF undergraduate representative, voiced similar thoughts regarding the new arts space.
“Our current system is set up to create a very solitary learning environment for students outside of the classroom,” Beckett said. “We need to find a balance between this incredibly high level of teaching that we expect from our faculty and learning experience, and the importance of studying outside of the classroom and socialization.”
As mentioned before, the space will be an extension of Hagey Hall and will replace the current outdoor courtyard. The open-concept glass building will be three floors, and will include study spaces, project rooms, an atrium, and a foyer. Construction will begin within the next few weeks, and should be completed in the summer of 2016.
Those who donate between $100,000 and $1,000,000 will have the opportunity to name a wing of the newly renovated building.