Fine Arts Gets Finer

Virginia Wesleyan College needs $14 million in order to begin phase one of improving the Fine Arts Building on campus. Donations currently total $12.7 million. In his State of the College Address, Scott Miller, president of the college, gave a promising message regarding the antiquated Fine Arts Building involving the establishment of the new Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center. The building’s name is meant to honor Susan Goode. Goode and her husband David Goode, donated $5 million to the project.

According to Miller’s address, the initial phase will include some long-awaited additions including a glass gallery and theater that will accommodate 300 to 350 people. According to theater professor Dr. Travis Malone, the current Hofheimer Theater was built in 1985 and seats merely 135 people. Phase one will also include renovations to the present Fine Arts Building. Upon completion of phase one, the building will be a total of 28,200 square feet.

Miller said he had no intentions on stopping there,“Two other phases will be added in the future totaling an additional 22,000 square feet at a cost of $14.2 million,” Miller said.

Renovations to the Fine Arts Building will have extensive benefits for students.

“It will provide more ways to continue our goal of creating engaging and dynamic performances for all audiences,” Malone said.

Regarding the expansion of the theater, Malone said the expansion would prevent the theater department from having to schedule so many showings of events as well as open up new doors for partnering with Coastal Virginia performing arts groups.

In addition, Malone said that the renovations to the theatre would offer students new stage production technology as well as a different style of performance venue giving them two varying types of venues to perform in. This will ultimately help performing arts students at Virginia Wesleyan College become more dynamic thus enhancing their ability to get jobs.

The new theater will not only benefit theater students but will also provide venues for lectures, meetings and concerts.

“Looking at all options for construction and renovation, we determined that a theater building that would serve many kinds of campus events was a priority,” Vice President for Advancement Mort Gamble said.

Renovation on the Fine Arts Building will not begin until the college fully achieves its $14 million fundraising goal, which has nearly been accomplished.

Miller listed the following donations in his State of the College Address: David and Susan Goode donated $5 million, trustees Henry and Eleanor Watts donated $1 million, an anonymous donor gave $1 million and Joan and Macon Brock pledged $5 million. Miller said that these donations bring the college to a total of $12.7 million in funding for the project.

Miller said that a new Fine Arts Building will be “in support of the mission and purpose of the college.”
This has been a project long awaited by students and faculty alike. Years of requests are finally becoming a fruitful reality.

Ashley Kline