Center for the Arts
A new Center for Arts, Creativity and Community would bring together activities for each of the fine and performing arts disciplines, the Museum of Art, and a new arts residence to advance research, teaching and performance through technological innovation, community partnership and interdisciplinary initiatives. A new applied arts program would have its home in the Center, offering creativity training and new artistic opportunities for all academic departments, such as those in the liberal arts, business, science and engineering, health and human services, and law.
Through the Center’s support of stronger community partnerships, premiere performances, socially relevant lectures, presentations and films, the arts would gain in importance as a vital means of expressions and as a creative tool to help shape social values in positive ways. The Center would feature:
- Advanced digital technology
- An unique arts residency program for artists in residence and students
- A central home for multi-disciplinary programs and endowed projects
- Innovatively designed, flexible, collaborative learning spaces
- a 350 seat performance/presentation hall
- a 175-seat “white box” theater
- sound and visualization suites to accommodates rehearsals and simulation
Starting in October 2011, numerous discussions and meetings have taken place with a representative committee formed by the Dean of Liberal Arts, as well as meetings and reviews with each of the fine and performing art departments, including the Museum of Art. From very broad discussions about all aspects of what functions and programs might be in a new Center for the Arts to specific space needs to address day to day operations, these meetings have resulted in a comprehensive long term full building program (152,000 assignable sq ft) to address all of the needs for the arts, as well as a more immediate Phase 1 building program (45,000 assignable sq ft). This Phase 1 building program would add a wide range of spaces to serve many aspects of the arts, while continuing to have many arts activities in the PCAC, NH Hall, and the Service Building. To provide space for all of the arts in a single location would require a facility large enough to house the full building program, however funding in the near term is not realistic for such an endeavor.
A summary of the Building Program highlighting elements in Phase 1 and uses that will remain in current locations.
An initial investigation of twelve sites, including two downtown sites on non-UNH property, has led to a focused evaluation of four on-campus options for the proposed Center for the Arts (CFA). As we have looked at various sites, each one has been tested to accommodate the full building program as well as evaluated as to how it would work during the time that Phase 1 stands alone.
It is recognized that while a downtown site has certain attractions, it would require purchasing real estate or working with private developers to realize the project. While that possibility remains open, the University must select an on campus site to ensure that we have an option that is completely within our control.
Development of any of the four on-campus sites for the CFA will impact existing land uses, although not necessarily requiring the full replacement of the impacted uses. Sites that would displace parking may or may not require replacement of that parking, but it is important to understand the implications of doing that. It is also important to note that over the past eight years, since the current Campus Master Plan was adopted, the parking inventory on campus has grown by 163 spaces with 194 more spaces available to faculty/staff.
The data for campus parking over the past ten years indicates that we have increased the pool of parking spaces proximate to core campus providing a buffer for spaces that might be lost due to CFA construction. In addition, over that same period parking permit demand has trended down across most categories.
Similarly, student housing that would be displaced would result in a temporary or permanent reduction in the total inventory of on campus housing, or would necessitate the construction of replacement housing. The inventory of student housing has increased by more than 1120 beds since 2004, but it is important to note that there is a potentially significant financial impact, depending upon the actual amount of housing that would be removed. A reduction in our inventory could also create a significant unmet demand for on campus housing.
The reuse of Hamilton Smith Hall for the CFA would need to carefully coordinate with relocating the current functions of that building into a renovated McConnell Hall.
A summary of the strengths and weaknesses of each of the unique site location alternatives.