The Students’ Union allocated $30,000 to the faculty of fine arts for renovations in the dance, music and drama departments earlier this year, and despite construction delays the renovations are nearing completion.
“The renovations should help build the profile of the faculty as we have not enjoyed such a level of support for the last 10 to 15 years,” said trumpet professor Howard Engstrom, who has been with the faculty for 26 years. “A better working environment creates a better product.”
Each performing arts department was given $10,000 to make renovations relating specifically to their program.
Fine arts human resources and administration manager Vanda Conway has been involved with the renovations since last year. She explained miscommunication about the deadline and severe labour shortages in the city have taken their toll on the progress of the renovations.
“We give nothing but our sincere thanks to the Students’ Union,” said Conway. “These are renovations that otherwise may have been left for years to come.”
The dance department used the money to purchase a new stereo system as well as curtains and ballet bars for the studios. Renovations in the drama department were completed in the summer, and included a lighting system upgrade and new soundboard. The department of music repainted their practice rooms and purchased new lockers for instruments.
“A coat of paint provided a sense of pride,” said SU fine arts student representative Teri Cameron. “We are creating facilities that match the enthusiasm of the students and professors. The SU is acknowledging that we have a strong faculty and it’s about time. Hopefully, outside sources will consider this and help out the faculty of fine arts financially in the future.”
It’s incredible how far as little as $10,000 can go, noted Engstrom.
“The trumpet student society is a huge beneficiary of having moved to a new studio,” said Engstrom. “The previous room was a disaster, substandard in every way. It is now very appropriately used as a storage room.”
The fine arts faculty and SU hoped to have all renovations completed by Mon., Nov. 6, in time for Fine Arts Awareness Week, but due to delays they will have to wait a month longer.
“They’re going to be done in December due mostly to construction delays,” said SU vice-president academic Shannon O’Connor. “Most of the big changes are already done but we’re still waiting for the curtains, ballet bars and lockers.”
O’Connor noted students are already using the renovated spaces.