Updated plans for unfinished arts campus

Aleni MacKarey

The plan to expand the Williams Arts Campus was announced in the fall of 2010, expected to be completed by 2013. Yet the ongoing construction is still not close to completion and new estimates place the opening date at 18 months from now.

It is planned for the Williams Arts Campus expansion to give students and professors additional rehearsal spaces, a film screening room, scene and costume shops, dressing rooms, a studio, and a state-of-the-art film theatre. Also included is a black box theatre, recently named after Lafayette’s former president Daniel H. Weiss and his wife, Sandra Jarva Weiss.

One feature of the building, the screening room, was finally approved on Wednesday by Easton’s Historic District Commission. Originally, the commission disapproved of the building’s red color, material and design. The construction of the screening room will commence, however, when modifications requested by the Commission are made.

Professor Jim Toia, coordinator of the Creative and Performing Arts Fellowship program and community-based teaching director hopes that the new building will strengthen community-student relationships, attracting Easton citizens as well as Lafayette students. Performers, artists, and neighbors are invited to join the college community as audience members and viewers of upcoming events and exhibits.

“I am very excited about the prospect of a more dynamic environment on North 3rd Street. I look forward to having more creative students and professors as neighbors and collaborators. In addition, it’s a great way for Lafayette to engage the downtown community on multiple levels,” Toia said. “My hope is that we have a place for students, professors and guests to grab a quick coffee or sandwich, sit in our lovely new setting and enjoy the flow of creativity as well as the Bushkill Creek running below.”

Students also express their excitement for the upcoming amenities. “The plans for the art campus are absolutely incredible,” art minor Libby Lucy ‘15 said. “Now all they need is a ski lift from College Hill to the arts building!”

Art major Haley Langton ‘15 agreed. “It is so exciting that our campus is expanding artistically and geographically.”

Despite the excitement, though, the building plans still must undergo more city approvals until the project is fully permitted. If development is hindered, students may not see the campus completed until over a year from now.