After serving for decades as an art gallery to display the works of students, faculty, staff and renowned artists, the Gallery on the Quad, otherwise known as the G Building, has been repurposed as a Conference Center to be used by the entire campus.
Renovations to the building began earlier this semester and are expected to be completed by the time the first summer session begins, according to Rueben Smith, executive director of facilities services.
“The college has never had a shared multi-purpose conference center and this creates the opportunity for serving a multitude of needs,” said Senior Vice President Robert Miller.
The new Conference Center will feature two different rooms, one seating 18 to 20 people and the other seating eight to ten people, and both rooms will be soundproof so that they can be used at the same time without disruption or distraction.
It cost around $100,000 to complete renovations, which included repainting, roof repairs because of water intrusion, fixing the drainage problems in the outdoor patio, waterproofing and soundproofing the building, and adding more natural light, according to Smith.
The cost also covered new furniture for the conference rooms as well as new technology like a Smart Board in the larger room, large-screen televisions, conference telephones, microphones and portable white boards to create flexible room, according to Smith and Miller.
Unfortunately, the seemingly abrupt decision to remodel the old gallery left some in the School of Visual, Media and Performing Arts feeling blind-sided and disappointed because they were given no explanation for the change. There were already shows scheduled to be displayed there this semester, as well as long-term plans to continue with its use as an instructional facility.
However, realizing that the arts and design programs at the college also needed adequate display space, a section of the V Building has been designated to be re-designed as an art gallery that will function in tandem with The Boone Family Art Gallery at the new Center for the Arts, according to Gallery Director Brian Tucker.
“I am greatly heartened that the administration has agreed to renovate a good-sized space in the V Building as a gallery,” Tucker said. “If this means that the college will commit to ongoing support of an active and growing gallery program, that bodes well for the future of the visual art programs at PCC.”
After promising the architecture program a show in the Gallery on the Quad, Tucker was forced to cancel it, even though students and faculty had worked through the holiday season to prepare for the show, when he was informed in January that the building would no longer be an art gallery.
“I was frustrated and demoralized by the way that the Gallery on the Quad was closed,” Tucker said. “I was not consulted or even given notice of the decision, and the efforts that my colleagues and I had made to communicate our long-range plans for the space—which included a substantial letter sent to the president and other executives last summer—were never acknowledged by the administration.”
Despite the lack of communication, the decision to turn the gallery into a conference center was not superfluous, according to Associate Dean Joseph Futtner, who pointed out that the existing meeting rooms are always booked and hard to get into.
“It’s not without a sense of need,” Futtner said, though he believes these decisions should not have been made behind anyone’s back.
“We recognize that the college has a need for conference space,” Futtner said. “We have been reassured about the space in the V Building and it gives us a better opportunity to integrate a larger gallery program.”
Renovations on the space in the V Building are still being planned, but are well underway, according to Tucker.
Futtner said that the new design will be consistent with the design of The Boone Family Art Gallery, and renovations will include removing the suspended ceiling in order to allow for new lighting to be installed as well as a polished concrete floor.
“I think the new gallery in the V Building will provide excellent opportunities for our students, and allow our gallery program as a whole to better serve both the art students and the community at large,” Tucker said. “The new rooms will have more usable gallery space than the Quad gallery did; it will offer great possibilities.”