Fine Arts building renovation plans moving forward

By Katy Petershack

Macalester’s Fine Arts departments are in for a big change.After Macalester renovates the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center in Summer 2009 or 2010, students can expect to see a new two-story gallery that overlooks campus, a new dance performance stage, flex theatre and a complete renovation of the existing theatre. The “most exciting change” according to Cary Franklin, the Music Department’s Renovation Committee member, is a new 100-seat lecture hall that can also serve as a performance space.

The college said it will not release renderings of the building until the fall.

Classics professor Andy Overman, head of the faculty planning committee, said that the renovation has been in the works for a couple of years. It all started with “a thorough assessment of the Fine Arts Program” and then the “development of a building that will serve it well into the 21st century.”

Franklin said that some of the major challenges in the renovation are “balancing what we want with what we can afford.”

Another complication is working with the building’s original framework, rather than establishing an original foundation, Overman said.

The new Fine Arts building is being built in order to “better serve the needs of our students in the twenty-first century,” Franklin said. The building was constructed in 1960 so some of the structure is in need of renovation, where as other sections are holding up well.