Transforming the Old Engineering Building
By Rachel Fiet
Friday, July 1, 2011
Engineering Building Goes to Department of Visual Arts
An anonymous $2.5 million gift will fund the renovation of John Brown University’s current Engineering Building into a cutting-edge art facility for the Department of Visual Arts, President Chip Pollard announced in April.
The building, part of the historic Cathedral Group on JBU’s main campus, is currently occupied by the Engineering and Construction Management Division, which will be moving to the under-construction Balzer Technology Center, scheduled to open this fall.
“As our largest academic program, the Department of Visual Arts has great need for new space,” said Dr. Pollard. “We are deeply grateful for the blessing of this anonymous gift which will primarily benefit our digital media arts, cinema, graphic and web design, art and illustration and photography majors.”
Currently, the Department of Visual Arts occupies the Cathedral Group’s southwest building. When the renovation on the northeast building is complete, the 200-plus majors in the department will utilize both facilities. The renovation is expected to take about six months.
The renovated facility will include new drawing and painting studios, a new printmaking studio, a larger multipurpose, enhanced-technology classroom, new video editing suites, new sound recording studios, a new drawing studio, and a new, permanent student works gallery.
“To be able to have this additional, newly renovated facility will enable us to create an even richer educational experience for our art students,” said Dave Andrus, professor of visual arts and department chair. “Because of this anonymous gift and other similar support, we are able to offer our students an exceptional program in a facility that perfectly fits our needs.”
Originally built in 1956, the northeast building of the Cathedral Group first housed the university library. The exterior of the building, along with the other two buildings of the Cathedral Group, was renovated in 2008.
Rachel Fiet works with University Communications