The University of Arkansas - Fort Smith has scheduled an April 21 official groundbreaking ceremony for construction of a 58,000-square-foot visual arts building.
Participating in the 1 p.m. event will be UAFS officials, members of the UAFS Foundation Board and the UAFS Board of Visitors, students and representatives from the construction and architectural firms. The public is invited.
The short ceremony will be held at the site of the proposed building, at the southwest corner of Waldron Rd. and Kinkead Ave. A tent will be set up for the event.
A previous structure has been cleared from the site by the construction manager for the project, CDI Contractors of Little Rock and Fayetteville. The new three-story building is being designed by WER Architects of Little Rock.
Housed in the facility will be gallery spaces, the letterpress and printmaking operation, a 150-seat film theatre, graphic design laboratories and spaces for photography, painting, sculpture and art history. The freshmen foundations program -- which includes basic courses in drawing, 2D design, 3D design, typography and digital imaging -- will also be housed there, as will space for the Chancellor’s Coalition for the Visual Arts.
Dr. Paul B. Beran, UAFS chancellor, said the groundbreaking for the visual arts building is the first step in a long-range master plan for UAFS.
“When I unveiled the master plan last fall, the need for this facility was clearly shown,” said Beran. “We will be moving educational programs from five different buildings under the roof of the new visual arts building. This is an exciting time for us, but most of all, it’s an exciting time for students.”
One of the ceremony participants is student Rebecca Carolan of Alma, a senior art major.
Dr. Henry Rinne, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, said it is fitting that an art student speak at the event.
“Although Rebecca Carolan is a senior and will not have a chance before she graduates to enjoy the new building, she knows what an educational benefit it will be for students to have this great new facility,” said Rinne. “Our students and our faculty will be energized by the spaces available to them, something which has only been a dream for years.”
Beran said he is also grateful to the Windgate Charitable Foundation of Siloam Springs for a $15.5 million grant given to UAFS to construct and equip the facility. The final $2.5 million of the gift is a challenge grant, which UAFS will match and use for a building endowment.
“The Windgate Foundation’s generous gift allows us to move forward now with a significant physical structure for our campus,” he said. “The new building will serve the students and the community for years to come.”