The groundbreaking ceremony for the new fine arts center will commence at 9:15 a.m. on Wednesday, March 8 and will be held at the future site of the building where the intramural fields used to be. Many honorary members of the board of trustees will be in attendance, as well as Chancellor John Bardo, Adelaide Daniels Key, chairman of the board of trustees, and NC Representative Phillip Haire. The new fine arts center will be state of the art and “drastically, drastically different from what they now have,” said campus architect Wiley Harris. “It will be a great thing when it is completed.”
Many faculty members hope that the building will invigorate WCU’s art program. “We hope this building will help bring out the qualities that art is supposed to be about,” said Harris. “We hope the new facilities will help students be more creative and original in with their art.” The new facility will offer more opportunities for art students at WCU. It will cover 121,000 square feet, with four galleries, many offices, and a state of the art 1,000-seat auditorium. “I’ll be excited when the ground breaks,” said Andrew Comrie director of the physical plant. “This building has been a long time coming, and it will be the most expensive building on campus. It will really be special when completed.”
Construction has been delayed by building code changes that mainly dealt with handicap accessibility. The building was originally designed in 1998 and was sent back to the drawing boards to comply with the code changes.
The project was further delayed pending approval of the bond referendum in November.
The building will cost altogether about $248 per square foot, for an approximate cost of $30,000,000.
The job will be offered to contractors very soon in hopes that construction will begin by early summer, and the building should be completed by summer 2003.