Mount Allison unveils new arts centre

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$30-million building to house fine arts program

Mount Allison University unveiled the design of its new $30-million Centre for the Arts on Wednesday. The 50,000 square foot building is expected to open in the fall of 2014.

SACKVILLE, N.B. — Mount Allison University unveiled designs for its $30-million Centre for the Arts during a ceremony at the university on Wednesday. 

With a slim profile and clad in the university’s traditional rose-coloured sandstone, the centre has been designed to create a stunning new presence at the north-west edge of campus.

“The Centre for the Arts has been a dream at Mount Allison for nearly a decade,” says Mount Allison president and vice-chancellor Dr. Robert Campbell. “This is a hugely exciting endeavour, and one of which we are very proud.”

The 50,000-square-foot centre will feature a large atrium with double-height ceilings linking three distinct spaces: the School of Fine Arts, housing contemporary art studios with facilities for painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography, and other media; a studio hall with reinforced floors, heightened ceilings, and controlled lighting; and a 100-seat black box theatre with cutting-edge sound and lighting.

The facility will also have office and seminar spaces, and the atrium will serve both as an area to hold receptions and social events as well as a place for students to exhibit their work and meet to exchange ideas.

The building will be home to the fine arts and drama programs, which are currently spread throughout facilities across campus.

“It is going to build the creative community. For the first time, we are all going to be under one roof,” said Thaddeus Holownia, head of the fine arts department. “It is going to move us forward to accommodate our curriculum in a contemporary way, with specialized classrooms, studios, and equipment.”

Gerald Stein of Zeidler Partnership Architects was at the ceremony to present the final designs. Zeidler was chosen because of its expertise in designing performing arts centres. It has 80 such facilities to its credit. The project team also included an educational space consultant and a theatre consultant.

“In a liberal arts context, cross-disciplinary programs like drama are absolutely necessary,” Glen Nichols, director of Mount Allison’s drama program, said. “The new centre has the kind of intimate and flexible space where students can get the best possible drama experience.”

Mount Allison is contributing $10 million toward the cost of the building and a fundraising campaign is under way to raise the remaining $20 million from private donors.

Construction on the structure — the first new academic building on campus since 1979 — is set to begin this summer and it is expected to open in the fall of 2014.

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  • alumni
    April 11, 2012 - 21:59

    It was a difference of $5 million to save the old Memorial Library. Alumni were willing to do this in order to have it incorporated into adaptive re-use in the Arts Centre. Now it's gone and so is the future support of a large percentage of alumni. Robert Campbell appears to be the Ian Newbould of the 21st century.