University Arts Building is 'groundbreaking' news

University and the School of the Arts expand roles and footprint on campus and in the community

From left: University of Nevada, Reno President Marc Johnson, Nevada System of Higher Education Chair Rick Trachok and artist Bryce Chisholm at the ceremonial groundbreaking event for the University Arts Building. Johnson and Trachok were the first to paint their strokes on the board that Chisholm then finalized as a building rendering. Photo by Theresa Danna Douglas.

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6/15/2017 | By: Natalie Fry |

The University of Nevada, Reno ceremonially broke ground on the University Arts Building through a music- and art-filled event Thursday, June 15, 2017. The University Arts Building will be connected to the Church Fine Arts building through a sky-walk. This three-story, approximately 42,500-square-foot facility will enhance the quality of music and arts programs with new creative spaces that will inspire creativity and artistic excellence. 

"It has been said that the best things come to those who wait and today, ladies and gentlemen, we witness the truth of those words," College of Liberal Arts Dean Debra Moddelmog said. "The project we celebrate has been in discussion for many years. The vision has been there, and today we begin the celebration of making that vision a reality. The realization of a new University Arts Building is here."  

The official groundbreaking event, with entertainment provided by the University World Percussion Ensemble, a student jazz trio and painter Bryce Chisholm, acknowledged the start of construction for the new facility, which is slated for completion in late summer 2018. The University's Arts Building will amplify the role of arts within the community, while at the same time increasing the public's accessibility to world-class performances and exhibitions.  

"The breadth and depth of our campus continues to grow," University of Nevada, Reno President Marc Johnson said. "Today's gathering for the University Arts Building is another excellent example of the high level of energy and exception we have for our College of Liberal Arts, the School of the Arts and our University."  

Continued growth in student enrollment and the addition and expansion of arts programs has led to the need for the new facility. A new 287-seat recital hall, art museum, fabrication lab, electoracoustic lab, soundproof rehearsal spaces, music practice rooms, faculty office spaces and a state-of-the-art recording suite will support students and staff in producing their best work.  

President Johnson, Nevada System of Higher Education Chair Rick Trachok and emcee Moddelmog were the speakers at the event, which was attended by approximately 150 staff, faculty, donors, community members and many other supporters of arts and culture.   

The construction site is located just east of Church Fine Arts off North Virginia Street, in the west/central part of campus. The building will be situated northeast of the Virginia Street Gym and south of the Fitzgerald Student Services Building. The facility will connect to Church Fine Arts via a sky-walk.  

"The University Arts Building will provide unparalleled opportunities not just to musicians and artists, but to everyone on campus," President Johnson said. "It will strengthen our connection to our vibrant arts community. It will provide yet another bridge from our campus into our community.  

Strategic Significance  

Scholarly, creative and instructional efforts within the College of Liberal Arts produce some of the most visible connections between the campus and surrounding community. The University wants to further enhance the arts presence on campus and in the community by expanding the number of artistic performances and exhibitions. By promoting and cultivating the University's arts programs in this manner, the University will strengthen its leadership role in arts education in northern Nevada and continue to showcase top student and professional performances and exhibits in music, theatre, dance and art. The new building will further the University's connection to the Reno community and create a model of cooperation that also will positively affect the region's economic impact.   

The Details    

  • The new three-story facility will be about 42,500 square feet
  • Cost for the University Arts Building is about $35.5 million
  • Funding for the new building is a combination of private philanthropy and University funds
  • The architect is DLR Group Architecture and Engineering Inc.
  • The contractor is Q&D Construction Inc.
  • The construction is anticipated to take about 16 months to complete, which is slated to open in late summer 2018

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