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Shepherd University dedicates Center for Contemporary Arts

'Incomplete masterpiece' is first phase of campus project

'Incomplete masterpiece' is first phase of campus project

April 18, 2008|By TRISH RUDDER

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. -- The new Center for Contemporary Arts (CCA) building at Shepherd University was dedicated Thursday afternoon.

About 200 people attended the dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony for Phase I, the first one completed of the three buildings planned. The building is on West Campus Drive.

"We are showing you today an incomplete masterpiece," said Dow Benedict, Shepherd University's dean of arts and humanities.

The building has been open since February and has faculty offices and 10 classrooms, including a digital photo processing studio, a painting studio and a printmaking studio "that is nontoxic and environmentally friendly," said Doug Moss of Holzman Moss, the architectural firm that designed the building.

Rhonda Smith, who chairs the Department of Contemporary Art and Theater, said printmaking is one of the most hazardous processes in art, and she wanted a safer, cleaner way for students to perform the processes.

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Smith said the $12 million building was built with state funds through the Higher Education Policy Commission. Phases II and III will be privately funded, she said.

Moss said the ceiling fans inside the building are for natural ventilation, which adds another energy-saving feature.

The outside of the building is a combination of cementenous (cement material made to look like wooden boards) and copper panels. Long, galvanized steel benches outside were built for seating.

"All are long-lasting material," Moss said.

Dan Yanna, director of facilities, said the 45,000-square-foot building is well-insulated and cooled with a chilled water system.

Steve Reneker, project manager, said the building has many energy-efficient features, including a heat recovery wheel and efficient lighting that is controlled by timed computers. Energy-efficient sinks and toilets with automatic flushing that use less water also were installed, he said.

"By saving money in this way, hopefully it will keep tuition costs from our students," Reneker said.

Phase II will feature a scene shop, prop shop, sculpture studio and black box performance space with seating for 150. Phase III will house a pair of 250-seat theaters, a large lobby, art gallery, graphic design studios, classrooms, costume shop, dressing rooms and a state-of-the-art box office, according to the dedication program.

"We are a university that embraces art," said Ed Herendeen, a theater professor at Shepherd. "We will find the funds to complete Phase II and III."

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