Special to the Journal
Americus, Ga – After 30-plus years of service and minimal updates, the Fine Arts Building at Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) will undergo renovation in Fiscal Year 2014. The $1.95 million capital improvement project was approved by the state legislature and the governor and met strict guidelines set out by the University System of Georgia to “enhance critical academic program needs by increasing the functionality and yield of existing space,” rather than beginning new construction.“This is an important project and one that will be a morale booster for our fine arts faculty and staff,” said GSW President Kendall Blanchard. “I am particularly grateful to Representative Mike Cheokas for making sure this capital improvement money for Georgia Southwestern stayed in the state budget.”
The Fine Arts Building is home to the Department of Visual Arts and the Department of Theater, Communication and Media Arts. It stands at 16,240 square feet with classrooms; studios for ceramics, glass blowing, sculpting, painting and drawing, photography, printmaking, digital media; a set-building shop; an art gallery; and a 270-seat theater. The renovation will include improvements both internal and cosmetic. A modernized fire escape, new HVAC system, lighting and new electrical wiring will be installed, while new classroom and studio technology and new theater carpet, seats, drapes and staging will be put in place. Some structural work to hallways will also be included.
“Some aspects of the planned renovation will address safety issues and functional aspects of the Fine Arts Building,” said Kelly McCoy, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “This will result in a safer and more comfortable environment for the students and faculty in the building. From an instructional viewpoint, the most exciting part of the renovation is the opportunity to modernize the theater and studio facilities to allow the most modern instructional methods and enhance the productivity of the studio arts programs.”
Constructed in 1981, the building’s architectural design is unique to the Georgia Southwestern campus, and it is home to one of Georgia’s most unique academic programs: glassblowing. It has also been the scene of countless dramatic performances and lectures led by GSW and other community organizations.
“We are ecstatic that a substantial, vital upgrade of these facilities is in the works,” said Jeff Green, director of Theater, Communication and Media Arts. “It is hard to attract and retain students when the facility and technology are not current. Among other items, we hope the budget will allow for significant modernization of stage lighting and sound systems in both the Fine Arts Theater and the black box theater on the 2nd floor.”
Construction/renovation on the Fine Arts Building will begin in late spring or early summer 2014. Architect and contractor selection will begin later this year. All classes and studio time will take place as scheduled, while there may be brief interruption in some areas (i.e. Fine Arts Theater).
For additional information, please call (229) 931-2037.