Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts on track for the fall

Tribune-Post Staff
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An inside look at construction work on Mount Allison's Purdy Crawford Centre for Arts.

Despite the snow and winter temperatures, construction of Mount Allison’s Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts is well on track to welcome its first students this September.

Passersby will notice recent changes in the facility including the installation of several windows, along with much activity happening inside the building.

“We are installing window frames and windows, and the sandstone and interior block walls are nearing completion,” says Ron Eickholt, project manager for the facility. “And we are starting to install the drywall, which means we have started finishing individual spaces.”

The electrical wiring has been started and finishing work such as flooring and paint is expected to begin in the spring. The move into the building will not happen overnight, but staff and faculty will begin the process by early July.

Home to the fine arts and drama programs, the 50,000-square-foot centre has been designed to create a stunning new presence at the northwest edge of campus. The centre includes contemporary art studios with facilities for painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography, and other media. A studio hall features reinforced floors, heightened ceilings, and controlled lighting.

Eickholt says that the building’s theatre has been specially designed for different types of productions, with sophisticated sound and lighting systems and flexible capacity. The theatre boasts telescopic seating for 84 people, with the potential to expand seating options for much larger audiences.

The building will house office and seminar spaces and an atrium that will have the capacity to hold receptions and social events, as well as a place for students to exhibit their work and meet to exchange ideas.

Drama and fine arts classrooms, theatre and rehearsal spaces, studios, and exhibition spaces are currently scattered across campus. The new centre will bring these spaces under one roof, inviting limitless creative opportunities for interaction between fine srts and drama students and faculty.

This centralized location has been designed to encourage experimentation and exchange, as well as provide opportunities to build a new kind of creative community – transforming teaching, learning, and creative pursuits at Mount Allison.

University president Robert Campbell says that, much like the Wallace McCain Student Centre, the Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts will have a transformative effect on campus, providing a welcoming space not only for the drama and fine arts programs, but for the entire Mount Allison community.

“The McCain Centre was enormously important for social life at Mount Allison and the Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts is going to kick it up another level for the arts and creative side of the university,” says Campbell. “We will then have two grounded places on either side of the campus. I think that this will be fantastic.”

The centre is being financed primarily from private sources, without government or borrowed funding. The university has already raised more than $21 million from private donors toward the $30 million project, with a goal to raise the remaining $9 million.

An opening ceremony is scheduled for Oct. 3, 2014, with events planned to welcome donors, students, faculty, special guests, and other members of the Mount Allison community.

Organizations: Purdy Crawford Centre, Wallace McCain Student Centre, McCain Centre

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