St. Paul, Minn. – On the same day the Macalester community celebrated the opening of the music building and arts commons, the college’s Board of Trustees launched the next step in the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center’s comprehensive renovation and expansion by approving the plans and timeline for the studio art building. Construction will begin in January 2013, with the project scheduled for completion in January 2014.

“The music building and commons have already made a huge impact on the community here, and we are so grateful to the donors who are pledging their generous support for the arts at Macalester,” Macalester President Brian Rosenberg said. “The studio art project is the next step in ensuring that all of our students can access the arts.”

HGA Architects and Engineers of Minneapolis, the firm with which Macalester partnered for the music building and arts commons, has completed plans for the studio art building. Each space is intentionally structured to draw in the Macalester community, from art majors to neighborhood visitors. Among the highlights:

  • Flexible spaces and classrooms will accommodate increased student demand. Senior art majors will benefit from a spacious studio to support their capstone projects, and studio art faculty and students will work together under the same roof for the first time.
  • Studio space on the first floor will be devoted to ceramics and 3D sculpture, featuring separate spaces (for the first time) for wood, metal, and welding.
  • The second floor will house drawing, painting, and printmaking studios for students in advanced courses, plus three faculty studios.
  • Construction will add half of a new third floor to the building, which will create additional space for painting and drawing.
  • The third floor will also include a 2D design suite, reflecting state-of-the-art resources that will make that space the most technologically advanced on campus when it opens.

Architectural renderings and more information is available at the project’s website. The studio art’s renovation and expansion will cost $20.5 million, and the college plans to raise $7.5 million and use college funds and debt for the remaining $13 million.

“These are crucial, much-needed renovations that signal our college’s deep commitment to the arts,” Rosenberg said. “Now is the time to continue unifying the fine arts at Macalester. We’re ready to move forward.”

HGA is an integrated architecture, engineering, and planning firm that helps prepare its clients for the future. By understanding their cultural and business needs, HGA helps clients realize their organization’s vision and potential through responsive, innovative and sustainable design.

Macalester College, founded in 1874, is a national liberal arts college with a full-time enrollment of 2,035 students. Macalester is nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, internationalism, multiculturalism and civic engagement. Learn more at

October 6 2012

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