Fine Arts Center Fast Tracked

By April DeJarlais

With the Leonard Center up and running and the Institute for Global Citizenship taking shape, focus is shifting to renovations on the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center. The project is currently in the planning stages, and financial negotiations are underway.At the moment, the only designs on the table are basic floor plans, but those will those will be expanded by Jan. 1, 2009, according to Provost Kathleen Murray.

The main problem right now is that the forecasted price of construction exceeds the college’s budget. Proceedings to lower the cost are currently ongoing between Murray and the faculty director of the project, Professor Andrew Overman. Full renderings for the new and improved buildings will come once enough money is raised and the costs are settled, Murray said.

Generally, the renovated building is expected to include another level for the studio art building, more rehearsal and performance space for musical ensembles,

year students have been expected to foster roommate contracts and community agreements. RAs have also been asked to have one-on-one sessions with each of their residents.

Administrators hope that this will create concrete connections between RAs and their residents as well as build relationships between residents through the RAs.

Kaufman says that RAs have been adjusting to doing different kind of work than they have done in the past. “It’s more work at the front end,” he said, “getting to know their residents and creating agreements.”

Peg Olson said she hopes that the community will build on itself constantly throughout the year and will be “self maintaining.” The idea is to make the RAs focused on creating community, rather than policy.

So far, the community contracts have drawn mixed reactions from students. “I feel as though it was good measure to be made because certain issues for the community were addressed. There are really good things like don’t slam the door, flush the toilet, and don’t play loud music” said Mac McCreary ’12.

However, other students remain skeptical of the process. “It wasn’t that serious, people didn’t care that much I guess,” said Micah Fowler ’12. It just felt like busywork, no one really seemed to care”

Residential Life and Campus Life emphasize that the project is an evolving one. “We fully anticipate that the program will look different next year,” Edwards said.

Residential Life administrators said that their approach to dorm life varies by year.

The upperclassman model, Edwards said, is focused less on floor issues and more on “area pride initiatives” that intend to expand the community through events such as the courtyard party last Friday.

So far, the community model has been fairly successful on campus.

“The number of conduct incidents has been down dramatically,” Kaufman said.

Edwards believes that RAs and hall directors have better connections with their residents. He also points to the fact that the number of students showing up to events is “tremendous”.

While the full effects of this program have yet to be seen, Resident life and campus life are feeling optimistic about the model’s future. “I’ve heard nothing but good things,” said Edwards, “We’re hoping to learn as much as we can to make the project a success.