Construction work on the Thea G. Korver Visual Arts Center and the Marvin and Jerene DeWitt Theatre Arts Center progressed significantly over the summer. While plans for the theatre center are on schedule, the art center will be finished more then seven weeks past the originally projected date.
The $1.88 million art center was expected to open Aug. 1, but suffered setbacks beginning last winter, when a crooked wall had to be rebuilt. Delays were increased when the dry walling company arrived late. Additionally, two doors have not yet arrived. Although, the doors were ordered on time, but the manufacturer lost the request. The front and side doors are now set tfro shipping on September 15, which places the building’s opening in the
last week of September.
The delayed opening has created diffculties for some courses in the art department. The size of the photography class was increased this semester in expectation of the new facilities, forcing to been crowd into the Beacon’s small darkroom. The classes former darkroom was eliminated when the old auditorium became the new theatre arts center. The ceramics class has also been limited in their activities because the current Bushmer Art Center has inadequate facilities.
Nevertheless, the art department is excited about the upcoming move. “I’m not really upset about waiting; I’ve been waiting 28 years,” said Professor Rein Vanderhill. “The new facilities will be so much better than they are now in every regard.”
The new Thea G. Korver Visual Arts Center will provide two-and-a-half times the space Bushmer did. All of the art classes will be located in one building, including ceramics, sculpture, computer graphics and art history. Faculty offices will be twice as large, allowing room for professors to have desks, computers on the campus network and facilities to meet comfortably with students.
“We’ll even have hot water in the restroom,” said Professor John Kaericher. The men’s restroom in Bushmer has not had hot water since he moved the art department there in 1969.
Only small projects remain before the building’s completion. Floors are being finished, cabinets are being installed, and equipment such as kilns must still be installed as well. After the doors are installed, the faculty hope to move into the building probably during the week of Sept. 22nd.
The DeWitt Theatre Arts building is scheduled for completion between Oct. 15 and Nov. 15, with only small projects such as carpeting, finishing ceilings, landscaping and moving in furniture to be finished.
The theatre department is excited about their new building. They are especially anxious to have the whole department under one roof. “We stress being an ensemble and being cohesive,” said Jonathan Allsup, the department’s administrative assistant and scene shop foreman.
The $8.3 million theatre arts center will feature two main stages, the proscenium theatre and the black box theatre. The proscenium theatre is the more traditional stadium-style seating with an orchestra pit and floor traps. The black box theatre is a rectangular room with four black walls and black curtains all the way around. The black box theatre will allow for versatility in scenery and seating. The building also includes an on-site scene shop, classrooms, costume shop, makeup room, green room, dressing rooms to support two simultaneous productions, concessions circle, patio and lounge for waiting theatergoers.
The possibility of the concession circle doubling as a coffeehouse has been discussed. Many of the concerns are in the area of staffing.
The Senior Theatre Ensemble will give the first production in the black box theatre in February. The first production in the proscenium will be given by the Drama Ministries Ensemble during spring break in lieu of a tour. The second production will be the spring musical, which will be the Old Testament dramas written by Jeff Barker.
“The fact is that this new building won’t make us do better productions,” stressed Allsup, a Northwestern alumnus. Allsup stated that the new facility will allow them to spend more time becoming better artists instead of spending time communicating and moving between buildings.
The art center is scheduled to be dedicated on Oct. 10. A dedication for the theater center has been set for April 20.