Written by Wes Schmidgall
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 00:00
Photos of existing facilities by Wes Schmidgall.
NORMAL — Those who attended Illinois State University’s Founders Day celebration in the Prairie Room of the Bone Student Center on Feb. 22 weren’t expecting to see Illinois Governor Pat Quinn.
During the celebration, ISU President Al Bowman introduced Quinn who then announced that the Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program will provide $54.25 million for the creation of a College of Fine Arts complex on the university’s campus.
“We know how, in Illinois, to bring people together, make sure they get a good education, especially in something as important as the Fine Arts and then go out to the world and entertain the world,” said Quinn at the celebration. “It’s a fine arts complex. It’s going to cost us millions of dollars. It’s going to involve 775 men and women to build this complex, so we want to really do it right so it lasts and lasts and lasts throughout this century and into the next century.”
The $54.25 million that the State of Illinois is dedicating for the capital project will come from video gambling revenue.
The College of Fine Arts will be located on the southeast corner of the university’s quad along School and Beaufort streets, and serve students who are studying art, music, theatre, technology and dance. It will replace or renovate the university’s current College of Fine Arts facilities, including the Centennial East and Centennial West facilities, both constructed in 1959, as well as the Center for Visual Arts facility that opened in 1973.
“We’ve waited a long time for this project and the current facility really wasn’t designed to do what we’re using it for today,” said Bowman at the celebration. “We will construct the facility in the exact same location, but we will reconfigure it to provide better access to the streets so the public can get in and out of there much easier, and of course make it more appropriate for events.”
According to Illinois State University Facilities Planning and Construction Planning and Design Director David Gill, most of the current College of Fine Arts facilities do not meet the standards the university has set for itself to provide a high-quality education.
“Some of our current buildings are pretty old and they’re not meeting the current requirements for the College of Fine Arts,” said Gill. “They’re doing the best they can to deliver quality programming within the facilities. I think the facilities are actually injuring their ability to deliver a high-quality education.
“Not all of the facilities are old. The current auditoriums are fairly recent. The project will focus on those areas of the College that are older and need to be brought up to current teaching and code standards.”
The current College of Fine Arte facilities have problem with ventilation and with requirements for access under the American with Disabilities Act, said Bowman.
The $54.25 million project will start with a design and planning phase, which is expected to cost $7.5 million.
“Our first step would be to hire an architect/engineering team and then establish a program,” said Gill. “The project will be a managed through the Capital Development Board, which is another agency of the State of Illinois. We’ll initiate requests to hire an architectural/engineering team and then the Capital Development Board will actually hire them.
Gill expects the Capital Development Board will hire an architectural/engineering team in 4-6 months.
Once an architectural/engineering team is hired, the design and planning phase of the project will start and take about 18 months to about two years to be completed. Construction is expected to take two years after the design and planning phase is completed.
The university has waited 12 years for the State of Illinois to release funds for the construction of a College of Fine Arts complex.
“We are extremely grateful for (Gov. Quinn’s) perseverance in bringing this project to Illinois State,” said Bowman at the celebration. “The College of Fine Arts offers first-class programs with outstanding faculty, staff and students who deserve first-class facilities.”
Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 March 2013 14:51