E&H Celebrates Renovation of Visual and Performing Arts Building
October 05, 2008EMORY, VA — Jennifer Lucy, an Emory & Henry senior majoring in art and mixed media, speaks of "two families." One consists of her fellow art students. The other consists of members of the E&H concert choir.
Both of these families are very much at home in the newly renovated Byars Hall, the historic building that houses the E&H Division of Visual and Performing Arts, Lucy said. And now music, art and theatre at Emory & Henry are ready "to show the community and the world what we have to offer."
Lucy was one of four speakers during a grand opening ceremony Wednesday, Sept. 10 that welcomed approximately 100 visitors from beyond the campus for tours of the facility and for the opportunity to learn about the future of the arts at the College.
"Think of the inspiration that will happen inside these walls," said President Reichard, who spoke to the guests of the growing importance for creative thought in facing the challenges of the times. "The arts and this facility give us an expanded tool-set for enhancing creative thought."
The $7 million renovation of Byars Hall was completed this spring. The project included a major three-story addition to the facility. The addition plus renovations to the historic portion of the building made room for choir and ensemble rehearsal halls, a digital art lab, two large art studios, additional practice rooms for instrumental music, a large piano lab, a dark room, a theatre support room, and numerous seminar and class rooms.
Renovations enhance both the aesthetics and history of the 116-year-old facility. Most notable among them: the restoration of the Calliopean and Hermesian rooms of the former E&H literary societies. The new section of the building also includes a three-story atrium.
The new facility helps to distinguish an already high quality program in the arts, Reichard said.
In addition, the facility is a symbol of the College's commitment to the environment. The building is the first building in its locality to be awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)certification.
To obtain that certification, local products and recycled materials were used throughout the building. In addition, water use reduction, storm water management, and optimization of energy performance was built into the design.
During the grand opening, visitors met with professors and students as they learned more about the uses and capabilities of its classrooms and rehearsal halls.
Visitors praised the design of the large addition as well as the renovation of the original building. Many expressed their optimism for the continued excellence in the arts at the College.
That praise was echoed in Lucy's remarks. "This building literally makes me feel as if the sky is the limit."
— READ THE SPEECH by Emory & Henry President Rosalind Reichard.