Virtual ground breaking held on UTM campus

Virtual ground breaking held on UTM campus
Virtual ground breaking held on UTM campus | University of Tennessee at Martin ground breaking for fine arts building

FINE ARTS BUILDING CEREMONY – Weather moved the groundbreaking ceremony indoors to the Paul Meek Library, but the University of Tennessee at Martin Fine Arts Building Phase I renovation and addition project was officially marked today on campus. Among t

FINE ARTS BUILDING CEREMONY – Weather moved the groundbreaking ceremony indoors to the Paul Meek Library, but the University of Tennessee at Martin Fine Arts Building Phase I renovation and addition project was officially marked today on campus. Among those attending the ceremony were, from left, Bill Sharpe, Pickering Firm, Inc., Memphis, principal; Bill Ferguson, Askew Nixon Ferguson Architects, Memphis, partner-in-charge; Tim Nipp, physical plant director; Dr. Jerald Ogg, vice chancellor for academic affairs; UT?Martin Chancellor Tom Rakes; Dr. Janet Wilbert, Faculty Senate president; Dr. Lynn Alexander, College of Humanities and Fine Arts dean; Emile David, UT Division of Facilities Planning staff architect; and State Sen. Roy Herron.

 

When the Fine Arts Building Phase I project is completed, students at the University of Tennessee at Martin will have new and additional spaces to study, practice and perform. A reception and groundbreaking ceremony were held today for the renovation and addition project that will more than double the available space. 

Noting that UT?Martin is one of the fastest-growing public universities in the state, University of Tennessee at Martin Chancellor Tom Rakes told those attending the ceremony, “Today is an exciting day for us. We begin Phase I; Phase II?to follow.” The chancellor said it has been four decades since the original building was constructed, and “the enrollment on this campus has grown from about 3,700 to almost 8,500. “Programs are growing. There is a need for it.” 

Rakes said that students expect the most current educational opportunities, and “we need the facilities to make that happen.” Even with tight budget constraints, he added, “Great things are still going on.”

Rakes thanked legislators for their support of the project that will bring together all the Department of Music and Department of Theatre and Visual Arts programs – programs that are located in a number of facilities across campus during the construction. “It will be worth the wait,” he said of the structure that will offer the latest in facilities and equipment to enhance fine arts education. 

The $13 million project consists of the renovation of the existing 54,702-square-foot building, as well as approximately 60,000 square feet of additional space. The final building footprint will increase to the north, south and east by a total of almost 25,000 square feet. The project is targeted for completion in fall 2012. 

“For music majors, the new fine arts building will have a very significant, positive effect on academics and career preparation,” said Michael Yandell, of Union City, a senior piano major in music education. 

“The simple fact that it is being built shows the university’s dedication to the arts. Spaces built specifically for rehearsal and performance will maximize the result of the many diligent hours both faculty and students spend in refining sound and musicianship.”

The building is specifically designed to meet the needs of the Departments of Music and Visual and Theatre Arts, including more than 35 office spaces, 23 practice rooms, three rehearsal halls, two lecture halls, 12 large and specialized studios, five classrooms, computer labs, band library, chamber music room, art display areas and storage space. 

Special acoustical consideration has been given to the sound-sensitive areas as well as technology advances for lighting and sound. 

“The new Fine Arts Building will mean a lot to me and other fine arts students,” said Ernie Vann, a freshman graphic design major from Knoxville. Vann said he will have more and better space in which to work and improved facilities as he pursues his major. 

“A project such as this will show other students and incoming freshmen that our fine arts programs are always growing, and that the facilities are getting better year by year.” 

“We are absolutely ecstatic at the prospect of having all the arts under one roof,” said Doug Cook, Department of Visual and Theatre Arts chair. 

“One-stop shopping for the arts is our goal.” Dr. Elaine Harriss, Department of Music chair, added, “ I remember the excitement of the 1970 opening of the Fine Arts Building. What a thrill it is to witness this renovation and expansion.”

wcp 2/03/11

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