By NICK BANDY
The Amarillo College fine arts program will soon move to newly remodeled facilities in the basement of the College Union Building.
College officials say the renovation is tentatively planned to be completed Oct. 18, with the faculty scheduled to move-in over fall break if construction is completed on time.
Painting, drawing, design and ceramics classes currently taught in Russell Hall will be relocated to the CUB basement.
The department will be joining the AC Foundation; Badger Central, which will include the remodeled café and bookstore and the college president’s office within the CUB,” Stephanie Jung, an art instructor, said. “We hope to be good neighbors to the other folks in the building. We are so grateful the architects worked with us to recreate what we had as closely as possible,” she said.
Part of the renovation includes construction of an outdoor ceramics kiln yard on the south side of the building.
“We are especially glad for the extensive excavation to create a same-level kiln yard. We know that was an enormous accommodation for us,” Jung said.
The move to the new facility was originally scheduled to take place during the summer but AC officials say shipping delays have postponed the completion date.
“Everyone in the department is excited about the new facility, but the process of packing and moving will be challenging,” Jill Gibson, chair of media, arts and communication, said. “We are looking forward to getting settled and welcoming students into this state-of-the-art space.”
Some students said they have reservations about the new facility. “I am confused as to why we’re moving, and there’s a deep misunderstanding of why it’s happening,” Eric Van Marter, a ceramics student, said. “It doesn’t seem to make sense to me. I believe that there are politics involved and I’m curious about that. I also just don’t see how they can move everything in a week and have it ready by the time classes start.”
Once the art program vacates its current location in Russell Hall, renovations will begin on that facility, which will be the new home of the Student Services Center, including advising and financial aid.
College officials said they are moving Student Services in order to create an appealing “front door” for the college and concentrate everything incoming students need in one easy-to-find space.
Jung said the art faculty are already making plans to showcase the new facility.
“We are looking forward to the new location to host around 500 high school art students from all over the panhandle in April at Ignite the Arts, which will showcase the incredible artistic talents of the presenters and make connections among the students who attend.”