Alan LaFave, D.M.A.
Greetings from Valley City State University!
We celebrated a major milestone in the history of VCSU this past week — the official groundbreaking for the Center for the Arts. We were so pleased to be joined by faculty, staff, students, local and state leaders, and friends of the university, along with representatives from HGA Architects, JE Dunn Construction and Strata Corporation for this celebration.
New academic facilities on any campus are a reason for celebration. The Rhoades Science Center addition and renovation, completed in 2013, was the first capital construction project for an academic facility at VCSU in 40 years. And now, seven years later, we’re starting work on the Center for the Arts.
This truly state-of-the-art facility will become the new home of our art and music departments. The students and faculty in these programs will be the primary beneficiaries of all the new building will offer as the space has been designed with optimum student learning in mind.
The art studio spaces will be equipped with the latest equipment and technology to keep our students at the forefront of the discipline. Learning spaces will be complemented with working and lab spaces. A new graphic design lab will be included, providing opportunities for our students to pursue training in one of the fastest growing and changing fields, and allowing greater collaboration with other disciplines across campus. Traditional courses in art will be delivered in beautiful new studio spaces, and the curriculum will include drawing, design, painting, ceramics, printmaking, photography, sculpture, art history and art business. The new gallery space, located adjacent to the front lobby, will be a tremendous new venue for showcasing the work of our students, faculty and visiting artists.
Our music students will be participating in courses including music education, theory, history, pedagogy, recording technology, applied instruction, choir, band, chamber music, athletic band and jazz ensemble. The music rehearsal, recording studio, classrooms, faculty studios and performance spaces have been designed with optimum student learning outcomes in mind.
As you might expect, construction of this type of facility, which includes different programs and the louder-than-normal volume levels in some rehearsal spaces, needs to take into account sound transfer from one space to the next and meet safety standards for student and faculty hearing. The technology and acoustical design and treatment of these spaces will not only provide safe and comfortable environments for music instruction but also the latest applications for recording and playback. The faculty teaching studios, along with the large rehearsal and performance spaces, will all be integrated from a technology perspective, allowing students to receive nearly instantaneous feedback on their work.
The band and choir rehearsal halls have been beautifully designed with function and acoustical response as top considerations. The meticulously planned design of the 350-seat performance space will provide for adjustable acoustics depending upon the performance group utilizing the space.
The new Center for the Arts will become a hub of activity and culture for the campus, the Valley City community, the region and state. Numerous local and statewide events that will bring thousands of students and patrons to campus during the coming years will certainly have a positive impact on growth prospects for VCSU and our local economy. Whether it’s a VCSU event or an exhibition or performance by a guest artist, the Barnes County Music Festival, Ployhar Band Festival or NDHSAA state music contest, this showcase will be a point of pride for us all.
We can’t wait for this outstanding facility to open; in the meantime, please join us in watching construction progress via a webcam at www.vcsu.edu/center-for-the-arts-building