Pandemic may affect plans for new arts building
Mary Seiner, Staff Writer
There has been talk about the possibility of a new arts building; however, the topic is no longer a priority with the Saint Martin’s community being preoccupied with the COVID-19 situation. Plans inevitably change; therefore, with a pandemic affecting the operations of daily life, designs for a new arts building are temporarily on hold. Saint Martin’s is utilizing online services at this time, as Governor Jay Inslee issued a lockdown on the evening of Monday, March 23. Citizens, workers, and students alike are not permitted to congregate as a result of the social-distancing decree.
Prior to the pandemic, students heard rumors concerning the construction of a new arts building that would provide students––music and theater majors particularly––with a larger space to improve their artistic education. “The talk of a new arts building is serious, especially with the appearance of band and the size of the instrumental ensembles that use the tiny space,” says Darius Nakao, a freshman music major. Despite the need for a new arts building, it is still unknown whether the construction of such a large project will ensue.
Additional sound-proof practice rooms that do not disturb classes in session and rehearsal spaces that have enhanced acoustics would help students adjust their instruments and voices in preparation for events and concerts. Those attending performing arts classes also need secure areas to store their instruments, as well as other necessary equipment for instruction.
Nakao explains that he has “wanted a new arts building from the day of the first band rehearsal, because the space felt really cramped and it feels the same for orchestra.” Just as the newly-constructed science building, the Ernsdorff Science Center, provides students with expansive classrooms complete with a lobby and patio area, a new arts building would make students feel comfortable congregating in a space designed for learning. A more accessible arts building would also better accommodate the art, music, and theater professors with satisfactory office space to house their teaching materials and to welcome visiting students.
The location of the new arts building remains unknown, but Saint Martin’s continues in its mission to minimize the environmental impact upon their campus grounds and retain the natural beauty of the trees and the homes of wildlife.
“I know that it has been something extremely desired and deemed necessary by all of us in the music department. I’m sure it is something Darrell and other music department staff are working hard behind the scenes for,” says senior music major, Morgan O’Connor.