Redefining the Classroom

Fine And Performing Arts Center Construction Begins

Posted: October 18th, 2002

October 17, 2002
FINE ART OF MUD HOPPING – Foundation work continues on LSSU's $15.3-million Fine and Performing Arts Center slated for completion in fall 2004. A construction worker gingerly steps through excavation muck with wood destined for a concrete form. (LSSU photo by John Shibley)

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – Lake Superior State University is celebrating an event that many have been anticipating for years. Earth-moving equipment is on campus and has begun to prepare the site for the long-awaited construction of the fine and performing arts center.

After bids for the construction came in higher than expected during the summer, a new design was considered and changes were made to bring the project in line. Revisions to the original plans for the project added a classically designed exterior, classroom space, an art gallery and slightly fewer seats for the theater.

"The State of Michigan had approved a $15.3 million building. The bids to build what we had designed were higher than that, so we asked TPI, our architects, to offer solutions," said Don McCrimmon Ph.D., provost and executive vice president. "They came back with an excellent alternative."

The architects did not need to look far. The firm had recently completed a facility that met or exceeded LSSU's needs at Detroit Country Day, a private high school in southern Michigan. The firm proposed adapting that building to the LSSU campus.

The results, which came during a time of presidential transition at LSSU, pleased both Robert Arbuckle, now retired, and new president Betty Youngblood.

"Our building will be modeled after a first-class facility with excellent acoustics, sight lines and outstanding classroom space. The new plans will meet the demands of a vibrant campus and our anticipated future requirements," said Youngblood.

A fine arts facility is a vision that dates back to the Kenneth Shouldice era. The complex has seen several variations through the years before LSSU secured funding in 1999. The state is providing $7.3 million for the construction while LSSU must contribute $7.3 million. To date, the University has raised almost $4.43 million in gifts and pledges for the facility. -LSSU-