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UNT begins work on new visual arts and design building

UNT begins work on new visual arts and design building

Officials break ground to signify construction and renovation in the Art building at UNT. The College of Visual Arts construction is a $70M project that is expected to be complete by fall 2018. Travis McCallum

UNT begins work on new visual arts and design building
January 25
20:27 2017

Celeste Gracia | Staff Writer

Students, professors, and other members of the UNT community gathered Tuesday inside the Lightwell Gallery of the current art building for the groundbreaking ceremony of the new building for the College of Visual Arts and Design.

Platform party members like dean of the College of Visual Arts and Design Gregg Watts, UNT President Neal Smatresk, Vice-President of Corgan, the architectural company working with UNT for design of the new building, David Zatopek, and project executive of the Hunt Construction Group, the construction business partnering with UNT, Clint Binkley shoveled sand in front of the audience.

With this symbolic event, the new building broke ground. 

“I’m very excited for this building. It’s a wonderful plan. I’m so happy they could incorporate the old building and make it one big unit,” UNT Provost Finley Graves said. “Our program here is already the top in Texas and one of the very best in the whole nation. This building will signify the status of it and also elevate the awareness of the program and how unique the program is.”

Construction for the $70 million project is set to finish in the fall of 2018, according to a UNT press release. As stated in the release, features of this building will comprise of a multi-purpose courtyard with landscaping and seating, a rooftop dye garden, a new gallery with study space, and a total of 181 classrooms and teaching areas.

“I think the best part is when this building was first approved, what I asked our new dean of art to do was tell me how this building will tell a story of the future of CVAD,” President Smatresk said. “We’re looking at what will meet the needs of the art community as well as the professional world for the kinds of students we’ll produce so that we can be that creative campus that’s a part of our dream and aspirations.”

Students also shared in the excitement of faculty, although it was bittersweet for some.

“I’m not going to be here to enjoy it because I’m almost done,” fashion design student Elia Shepherds said, who is graduating in the spring of 2018. “I think it’s exciting because our fashion building right now is just a portable so it’s very needed.”

“I think it will be nice to have everyone in the same place because a lot of different colleges inside of CVAD are unknown,” New Media Art student Rachel Jones said. “It will be nice to have a new sense of community within CVAD.”

Professors look forward to the future implications of this new building for their students’ education.

“Culturally it’s going to put North Texas on a national and international map,” associate professor Elaine Pawlowicz said, who teaches core drawing courses. “I think CVAD is posed to be one of the best art schools in this country with this kind of facility. More collaboration will be available with other colleges and we’ll have a great new gallery space that will be accessible for all students to come and see what we do.”

Dean Watts explained that the design focus of this building is to keep an open mind for what the future will hold, constructing interior spaces to be more flexible with stand alone furniture instead of built-in, while still placing emphasis on the importance of solidarity.

“The great thing about design is that it’s always evolutionary,” Watts said. “While the design will be finished there’ll be an evolutionary aspect inside, and the building will literally live as we go forward. The idea you heard us talking about today is bringing everybody together. One college, one building, but there’s a third part to that, and it’s one community.”

Featured Image: Officials break ground to signify construction and renovation in the Art building at UNT. The College of Visual Arts construction is a $70M project that is expected to be complete by fall 2018. Travis McCallum

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North Texas Daily

North Texas Daily

The North Texas Daily is the official student newspaper of the University of North Texas, proudly serving UNT and the Denton community since 1916.

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