NOVEL CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) UPDATES

Masks are required as the campus is at red status.

Windgate Fine and Performing Arts Center Update

Feature Article »
By Scott Meador, Associate Professor of Art, Digital »

Massing studies for the new building. The general layout is large performance spaces in the middle with 3D studios on the west side and 2D studios and classrooms on the east side. Image created by Scott Meador

The new Windgate Fine and Performing Arts Center building is nearing the end of its initial design phases. The building will become the new home of the entire Art department and will also feature a concert hall and a rehearsal hall for the Music department and a black box style performance space for the Theatre program. It is expected to be the most expensive building in UCA’s history and one of the largest buildings on campus. It will be located across Bruce street from Thompson Hall where a parking lot is now.

A team of architects from Little Rock based WER Architects and New York based Pfieffer Partners have worked with faculty and staff at UCA for close to a year and a half so far to design the building. Being sure we take our time and make thoughtful decisions about the building’s design ensures that it will successfully fulfill its goal of enhancing and elevating our arts programs. The challenge the architects face is packing highly specialized and large spaces from three different departments into the same building within budget.

The first design phase, called the Programming phase, is where we determine how many rooms are needed and their sizes. Programming with the architects started in June 2018 and finished near mid-summer of this year. Since then we have been in the second design phase, Schematic Design, which is where we look at how the building should be arranged, such as which studios should be near each other, which spaces need loading dock access, which spaces should be on an upper floor vs the ground floor, etc.

The schematic design phase is close to finished and the architects and contractors are now estimating the cost of the building. Once the estimated cost is agreed upon, we will finalize schematic design and then the architects will move on to Design Development. In the design development phase the building’s details will be worked out and the Art, Music, and Theatre faculty and staff will get their last chance to adjust the design if needed.

It’s expected to take about two years to finish the design and construct the building. We plan to hold our first classes in the new building in the fall semester of 2022. The building will have the same spaces we have now in McAlister and Schichtl, such as the graphic design lab and studio, the animation lab, art education classroom studio, 3D studio, 2D studio, painting studio, etc. However, some of the biggest changes to expect compared to our current facilities are a larger sculpture studio; expanded and redesigned facilities for printmaking and photography; redesigned ceramics spaces; a lighting studio; a second dedicated drawing studio; a large wood shop that will be shared with Theatre; an exterior courtyard that is shared by the “3D” studios; a library reading room; an art history seminar room; a lecture hall; and advanced student studio spaces.

Massing studies for the new building. The general layout is large performance spaces in the middle with 3D studios on the west side and 2D studios and classrooms on the east side. Image created by Scott Meador