November 4, 2008

Logan Art Center will not face delays after Zimmer’s budget announcement

Vice President for Student Life Bill Michel unveiled the working designs in a meeting on Monday for the $113 million Reva and David Logan Center for Creative and Performing Arts, to be opened in the fall of 2011. Michel, who is also a member of the project’s steering committee, stressed that the plans were tentative.

At the meeting, which was designed to give the University community a status report on the center, Michel said that student input has been highly valued by the committee.

“Throughout the process, we do open meetings for students involved with the arts on campus, to get feedback,” Michel said. “Student representatives previously met with the architect and were shown plans of the design…. There will absolutely be more [meetings for student critique].”

Michel’s presentation included digital renderings of the building, whose highlight is a proposed nine-story tower that is meant to be “a beacon to attract people” from the campus and wider community to the wide variety of arts on display. The Logan Center, to be located on the south side of the Midway, will boast outdoor courtyard areas that will be connected to the painting and sculpture studios, a late-night café, and several practice and performance spaces, including a visual-arts gallery and a 450-seat auditorium.

The design of the center is intended to foster student interaction and cooperation, according to Michel.

“It’s a building of convergence,” Michel said. “Arts coming together, convergence between theory and practice [and] between community and university.”

But Michel undercut premature anticipation.

“We are really early in [knowing] what the building might look like,” he said. “It’s more of an architect sketching on a napkin.”

Students and arts organizers in the audience asked a bevy of questions, from whether the café will be student-run to concerns over the diversity of arts on campus.

Michel countered those concerns, explaining that the Center’s purpose is, in large part, to alleviate that deficiency.

“We are trying to strengthen the arts at the University [and] are excited about this building to highlight all the arts done on campus,” he said.

When asked whether recent concerns regarding the University’s endowment, announced by President Zimmer last week, might affect either the scale or timing of the project, which is slated to break ground in the fall of 2009, Michel was firm.

“The answer is no. We will continue to work towards completion in 2011 as scheduled,” he said.

Nonetheless, money still played a role in the committee’s plans.

“As it happens with these projects, you start with big dreams,” Michel said. “You want [a] gorgeous deck on the roof, but you can’t afford [a] gorgeous deck. We’re still in the tugging and pulling stage.”