The Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center will take over the special events that were formerly held in the Hofheimer Theatre near the end of March. The old fine arts building will still be holding regular daily classes, and Virginia Wesleyan is still striving to improve the older building. Groundbreaking began on the new performing arts center back on Dec. 1. Construction has been taking place, and the building is scheduled to host events in April.
Virginia Wesleyan recently received funding for the Greer Environmental Sciences Center, and was still looking for the signature building of the fine arts. Virginia Wesleyan President, Scott D. Miller stressed the importance of the new building; “ The whole concept when we were working with the architects and the master planners was that you when attending a liberal arts college, university of arts and sciences that you have an iconic structure to your important academic programs.” The brand new building can be seen from Wesleyan Drive and will be the first thing that guest and incoming students see when they arrive on campus.The total cost of the Goode Center was $12 million dollars.
There are hopes of renovating the old Hofheimer building.“We would anticipate within the next year we will do some renovations to it (Hofheimer building) to make it a cleaner, more modern, more efficient building,” President Miller said. The normal classes that are held in there will continue to be held there, but on some occasions classes will be able to go into the new fine arts for certain occasions together. There will still be student performances in the old theater.
The new building is here to benefit all students not just students that have a certain major. The new building will serve multiple purposes rather than just performances. “ I tend to think about it as our front porch to the community. It’s the place where the community comes and we greet them and have good dialogue there as well,” Dean of the Susan S. Goode School of Arts and Humanities Professor of Theatre, Dr. Malone said. There isn’t going to be just one event that signifies the opening of the new structure. “ We will have a dedication ceremony on March 30th that will be for primarily our large donor pool invited and the board of trustees. We have also created a whole series of events , so instead of just having just one event that opens the facility. We have six weeks of events that sort of celebrate the opening,” Dr. Malone said. One event that could be held in the new structure could be Marlin Day. Marlin Day is where prospective students come and explore campus in large groups.
Whenever there is construction on or near campus there is excitement that comes with that. The new opportunities that come with a new facility are endless. A new building brings new students and faculty out to events, but it also brings different visitors from around Virginia Beach and Norfolk. “ I am in a really great position cause I get to walk people through for the first time in the building. To see the look of excitement on their faces when they walk into a space that is truly deserving of the quality of program we have here,” Dr. Malone said. The lobby in the new fine arts building can sit 106. The auditorium seats a maximum of 325 people. Recently, the donor added a pathway from the gate house that is bicycle accessible to everyone. The Goode parking lot which holds 259 parking spaces became available to students, faculty, and staff on March 8th. The increased parking from the new facility will become very beneficial to everyone with the limited parking.
There is another major project that Virginia Wesleyan is about to take on. “ Our next big project that will start in April is going to be the Oxford Village Project across the street will be eight buildings,” President Miller said. A very costly project that will be extra residence halls just outside of campus on Wesleyan Drive. The extra housing will be mostly for upperclassmen. There is not a definite date on when the project will be completed. Many new constructions have been happening on campus for the past few years, and the next few will not be any different. More facilities and housing for students, faculty and guests will only to continue to draw more interest from around the community.