Saisselin renovations to increase group work

Posted by Julia Leef

The Saisselin Art Building is currently undergoing renovations that will increase and reallocate classrooms.

"The faculty prioritized our needs, and having more space for classrooms is really, really important," Chairwoman of the Art Department Kate Leavitt said.

Art students will benefit from the additional classroom studio space, which will be built in the extra space above the downstairs studios. An extra seminar room will resolve schedule conflicts, allowing professors more flexibility when trying to reserve the room for classes.

"The extra seminar room would really help me out as far as my schedule goes," said Ariel Strobel, '14, a current art student in the Visual Concepts class, "that way I don't have to worry about it being full when I need to use it."

Renovations will move the jewelry and metals studio, which currently resides on the second floor, downstairs with sculpture and ceramics, while the communication design and electronic media studios will be moved upstairs.

"The move of all digital areas to one area will increase the efficiency of the computer areas. These will include a single server and tech support. Additionally, the digital areas can begin to collaborate and possibly avoid overlapping technical needs," Leavitt said.

Leavitt said the second floor would provide a clean environment for the computers, one without the dust and mess from studios like ceramics and sculpture.

Another phase of the renovations involves installing a new geo-thermal heating and ventilation system, like the one in the Arthur Zankel Music Center.

The Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) is an ideal replacement for the current system, as many materials in the art building require specific settings. Leavitt said that getting an HVAC was made possible by a matching grant between the college and the state.

Renovation plans began about seven years ago. The proposal has altered over the course of time and has been financed by the state grant.

Art professors hope the renovations will create additional office and studio space for the faculty members.

"Our faculty have no place to do their work. Studio space would provide a lot of opportunity to work with students and provide a much more collaborative environment," Leavitt said.  

New studios would allow professors to show students their own work process. "We are expected as faculty members to be active scholars, and students look to us as models after whom they can pattern their own form of intellectual engagement," Leavitt said.

The faculty said they are pleased with the changes being made, as they will benefit students and the department as a whole.

The renovations, which are being done in stages to accommodate classes, are expected to be completed no earlier than 2013.

Renovations will be accomplished through a series of temporary builds and moves, which will allow classes to continue as normally as possible.

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