The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Janet Wallace phase-one blueprints revealed

By Daniel Kerwin

The renovation project for the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center took a step forward when the blueprints for phase one of the project were revealed to students for the first time Wednesday afternoon in the campus center. The first phase of construction will involve the music building and the current gallery space, leaving the art building and theater and dance building intact.

The most dramatic plan is to move the gallery from its current location and built a new one in the space adjacent to the east wall of the music building. The space the gallery currently occupies will be turned into two-story building with a mixture of classroom space, offices, bathrooms and a large lounge area on the ground floor.

Other significant changes include an extension on the north end of the music building that will hold new instrument rehearsal and choral rehearsal areas.

One of the big improvements of the design will be the ease of moving through the building, which is currently a confusing process for anyone unfamiliar with the buildings.

Designers say another necessity that the project will address is the need to soundproof all parts of the music building. The soundproofing standards currently in place are from the 1960s, but the new construction will bring them up to date.

“You will be able to play in any room in this building and not have it be heard in any other room or in the concert hall,” Provost Kathleen Murray said.

Current plans are to start construction January 2011 if enough money can be raised by then. The project needs at least $18 million to get started, and $12.5 million has been raised for it. The first phase of construction is provided for by funds raised by the Step Forward capital campaign, but the following phases will require further fundraising to complete.

“In the best case scenario we move into the space fall of 2012, and that’s if we start right on time next January,” Murray said.

There are currently no plans set as to where the music department or facilities management will be housed during construction, but according to Murray there are facilities Macalester will be able to borrow from other campuses.

Murray said that regardless of last minute feedback, there will be no dramatic changes to the plans, although small changes are being looked into such as including a gender neutral bathroom in the building.

The blueprints will be on display on the second floor of the campus center next week for students who want to get a closer look at the plans. Full renderings will be available by the time of the Board of Trustees meeting on March 5.

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