Arts campus update


The new Film and Media Studies building at 219 N. Third Street. [Photo by Julia Brennan ‘17]

New FAMS building on track for January opening


Since last year, Lafayette students involved in the arts have found themselves torn between uphill and downhill. While some of the new Arts Campus is completed, the construction of the new building on 219 N. Third Street, which began in the summer, is still underway.

January 2015 was not the initial completion date, as the date was pushed back early in the design process, according to Director of Facilities Planning and Construction Mary Wilford-Hunt. The design had to be altered in order to make sure the budget was on track with the expectations of the college. Since the college finalized the design, the date has remained the same.

“We have substantially completed the building envelope and are in the process of installing building finishes,” Wilford-Hunt wrote in an email.

The next steps include more site work and the installation of the building’s new furniture and equipment.

Before construction began, the location on N. Third Street was home to Case’s Tire, a historic site. Lafayette College purchased Case’s Tire in 2001 for $850,000, according to a 2012 The Morning Call article.

Initially, the college intended to maintain some of the structure of the historic building. However, structural issues impeded this plan, according to a 2012 article in the Express-Times. The board of the Easton Historic District Commission approved the demolishing of the building in 2012, according to The Morning Call.

The college previously purchased over two-dozen properties near Case’s Tire. While some are used for storage, others have been renovated for the college’s use, according to The Morning Call.

Although the board of the Easton Historic District Commission had hoped to maintain the historic tire shop, it would not have been accommodating for the new building. The building was nearly collapsing, according to the Express-Times. As the Film and Media department continues to grow, the goal of the project is to create a place in which the demands and goals of the new Arts Campus are met.

The building will contain a black box theater, a screening room for viewing films, a flexible classroom, a costume and scene shop and offices. It will be used by the Film and Media Studies, Theater and Art departments.

“One great thing about being a FAMS major is the ability and expectation of collaboration with each other as students and with our professors,” Corinne Peabody ‘17 said. “A lot of the time normal classrooms don’t suffice for this collaboration.”

After years of planning and construction, these departments will finally have new facilities come January. Updates regarding the project can be found on Lafayette’s Facilities Planning and Construction website.