Campus Renovations

College of Charleston to Update Arts Center

The College of Charleston in Charleston, S.C., has announced a renovation project for its Albert Simons Center for the Arts. The facility originally opened in 1979 for about 800 students. Today, it serves about 4,000, according to a press release, and officials are moving forward with plans to update its classrooms, performances spaces, technology and infrastructure. The project is tentatively scheduled for completion in spring 2023 and is slated to open to students in time for the fall 2023 semester.

“This has been a long time coming, and we’re delighted,” said Edward Hart, dean of the School of the Arts. “We are so appreciative of the College’s administration for supporting us. You know, when times are tough, very often the arts take it on the chin. And our administration has shown the foresight to really stand by us with this project, which indicates that the arts really are a priority for the College.”

The project includes renovating about 87,365 square feet, demolishing about 10,893 square feet and constructing 22,871 square feet of building space, according to Brad Weiland, the College of Charleston Facilities Management senior project manager. The completed facility will offer about 99,000 square feet of classrooms and performance spaces.

Renovations and upgrades will include new seminar classrooms; updated and enlarged classrooms; a black box theater; a costume shop, scene shop and theater design studio; sculpture, printmaking and drawing studios; a digital lab; a gallery and multipurpose room; music practice rooms and upgraded dressing rooms; and new mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems as well as upgraded technology.

“The Simons Center has been great, but after 40 years, it needs a little work,” said Hart. “Better facilities make for a better environment. Everybody wants to be in a place where it looks and feels nice, and where there’s appropriate space.”

The School of the Arts’ classes and programs will fan out to five separate locations around campus during the construction process. Demolition and construction are scheduled to begin this fall. The university partnered with Liollio Architecture and the HGA Design Firm for the project’s design. The new facility will incorporate classic campus features like the green door from Towell Library and the coral-colored walls from Randolph Hall.

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].