Members of the architectural team for the upcoming Fine Arts Complex project visited campus December 3-4 to get immersed in the programs in the School of Art, School of Music, School of Theatre and Dance, and the program in arts technology.

This was the first meeting with members of the team in preparation for this major project, which will likely be a combination of renovation and new construction, focusing on improving the instructional spaces in the College of Fine Arts.

In addition to getting tours of the current facilities, the architects met with, and received reports from, faculty and students representing a wide range of types of facility spaces across the college.

At the two-day session were representatives from RATIO Architects (the primary architects of the project), HGA Architects (the design and programming architects), Affiliated Engineers (very important with the kinds of industrial processes in the arts), and the State of Illinois Capital Development Board, which is overseeing the project.

“Eleven years after finishing the Center for Performing Arts, I am very pleased to be back on campus working with all the arts programs on the south end of the Quad. This is a great opportunity to address things we couldn’t afford to do with the first building project in 2002 and to complete the vision for the College of Fine Arts.” —Loren Ahles, lead designer for the project

“It was clear from our first workshops on campus that the enthusiasm for this project from the faculty, students, and administration is contagious. I am invigorated by the passion and excitement that everyone has shown and appreciative of the warm reception and hospitality that we have been given. I am looking forward to working with the college and the various committees that have been established to provide input on the project.” —Rebecca Celis, project manager representing HGA

“The college’s goal to strengthen interdisciplinary connectivity between the fine arts departments is an exciting starting point for new facilities on campus. This building project is a tremendous opportunity to bring visual art, theatre, dance, music, and arts technology students and faculty together to foster collaboration and innovation in teaching and learning.” —Jamie Milne Rojek, fine arts specialist and leading the programming efforts

The next visit by the team will be in mid-January and will include Monona Rossol, industrial hygienist for the project. Rossol’s job is to make sure all the spaces are designed for the safety of students and faculty, from the toxic chemicals and dangerous equipment used in many art and theatre classes, to the flooring for dancers, to the sound levels for musicians.

The complex is in its beginning stages and additional support will make a noticeable impact. Support the project at or by contacting Joy Hutchcraft at (309) 438-8041 or