By Rain Ji ’19
For students returning to campus from summer vacation, it’s hard to ignore the huge construction site across from the Dining Hall and in between Emerson Dorm and Teddy House. This is the construction site for the Thomas S. Perakos ‘69 Arts and Community Center, which is scheduled to open in December 2019.
Mr. Brown, the Director of Alumni and Development, told The Highlander that so far, the school has raised about 17 million in cash and pledges. Additionally, the school has another 6 million in proposals outstanding (meaning that they’ve asked for the gift but haven’t heard back yet). The entire project’s estimated cost is 22 million dollars, so the school is making steady progress.
Mr. Richards, the Chair of the Visual Arts Department, said, “I think the new Arts and Community Center is going to enhance the program because it is going to give us more dedicated spaces for the different classes that we teach.” He added, “For example, rather than simply having one big art studio space we are going to have a painting and drawing studio, a ceramics studio and a photography studio. I also think that having the arts program on the academic side of campus will help to make the program more integrated into the academic day.”
Mrs. Dayton, Director of Dramatic Arts at The Gunnery, is also very excited about the new Arts and Community Center. “The Arts and Community Center will help us continue to grow our program with the exciting addition of many things our current small space could never accommodate. Our new theater will have wing space, a fully equipped lighting and sound system, more audience seating, a theatrical rigging system, catwalks to access lighting, and a beautiful lobby!” She expressed that as excited as she is about these “things,” she is more excited to see what students do with the space. “I am most excited to see what our current and future students are able to create, explore, perform and learn.” Mr. Richards echoed that sentiment, saying, “This is going to be a beautiful building and the spaces are going to be a pleasure to work in and I hope that will help the creative process.”
Ms. Albright, who also oversees the dramatic program, said, “We are so excited about the new space, and we’re grateful to see our program growing in space, in the number of students involved with productions, and in the pieces we’re able to put on. The new building is an amazing opportunity for the school and our students. We are looking forward to all the new experiences to come.”
“The 415 seat auditorium, with state of the art sound and lighting systems will be a game changer for our big concerts, and the recording studio and practices spaces will help us elevate our program to the next level,” said Mr. Perkins, a music teacher who also conducts and coordinates the bands.
Mr. Williams, the Project Manager and Director of Safety and Security, told us that the foundation of the southeast wall (next to Emerson) has been formed and concrete was poured, the front foundation wall is complete and the left most area is being prepared. During the first week of October, the structural steel is scheduled to arrive, and the center of the building footprint is currently being prepared for the crane. “Our construction team continues to make good, on-schedule progress,” said Mr. Williams.