The initial planning for the fine arts complex project has begun.

In November the state’s Capital Development Board notified Illinois State University that the design contracts for the project had been fully executed and project work could commence. The design team of Ratio Architects (Champaign) and Hammel Green and Abrahamson (Minneapolis) prepared a slate of Illinois State meetings that would take the project through programming and schematic design phases. Ratio and Hammel Green and Abrahamson (HGA) have both worked previously on the Illinois State campus; HGA were the designers of the Center for the Performing Arts.

A kickoff meeting for the project was held on December 3–4. The College of Fine Arts has established cross-departmental committees to help program and design such elements as classroom spaces, public spaces, technology, and other priorities. Ratio/HGA met with each of the established committees to review the information that had been compiled, as well as tour College of Fine Arts facilities. The Ratio/HGA design team assembled all program data that had been previously prepared.

A second meeting was held January 21–22. The purpose of the January meetings was to gather information relating to how existing spaces and equipment were used. Ratio/HGA engaged a specialty consultant who examined each fine arts teaching process undertaken as part of each classroom activity. This information will be compiled in a report to assist the designers in meeting functional and code requirements as well as designing appropriate mechanical and electrical systems for the spaces. Space program verification exercises were undertaken to create the foundational program for the size and types of spaces that will be required to meeting the college’s curriculum.

Additional meetings were held February 18–19, and more are scheduled for March 18–19. It is expected that a formal program and conceptual plans for renovations and new construction will be available shortly thereafter.