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2024 - Elgin Community College Unveils State-of-the-Art Arts Center After Extensive Renovation

Tags: Academics | Announcement
Published 03/18/2024
An art and design student demonstrates screen printing a t-shirt in the print shop.

An art and design student demonstrates screen printing a t-shirt in the print shop.

Elgin Community College celebrated the grand reopening of its Arts Center on Friday, March 15, following an extensive renovation process initiated in 2020.

Approximately $14 million from ECC’s Operations and Maintenance Restricted Fund was dedicated to Phase 2 of the renovation project, covering architectural design, construction, and furnishing. Construction began in January 2023. The updated modern spaces in ECC’s Building H will help students thrive with state-of-the-art technology and equipment. The goal was to expand how students learn by creating an environment with accessible workspaces that foster community in and out of the classroom.

“If you give world-class facilities, you’ll produce world-class work,” said Juan Fernandez, director of art and design, who was a leading figure in the project. “It’s our job as leaders to give our students that opportunity.” Throughout renovations, a focus on safety remained a top priority. The renovation aligns with all ADA standards and protocols, including updates in ventilation and sprinkler systems and new eye wash stations.

Building H was originally constructed in the 1990s, with no significant updates in the past 25 years. As the demands of ECC’s art programs evolved, the necessity for technologically advanced classrooms and improved accessibility became evident.

The revitalized space will now provide two new maker spaces (one three-dimensional and one two-dimensional), a podcast recording studio, an expansion of the music recording area, brand new rehearsal space for the ECC Arts Center’s in-residence ensembles, an expansion to the scene shop, improvements in audio in the Blizzard Theatre, a four-by-four CNC Router, 3D printer, enhanced lighting, upgraded technological infrastructure, and more.

The celebration kicked off with remarks from ECC President David Sam, PhD, JD, LLM; Mary Perkins, EdD, dean of liberal, visual, and performing arts; and Tommy Hensel, MA, senior director of performing arts. Attendees included students, faculty and staff, board members, and members of the local community.

Perkins highlighted the enriched learning environment that the updated modern spaces will provide for ECC students. "This renovation marks a significant step forward in fostering a dynamic educational experience," she remarked.

Attendees participated in small group-led tours, ending the event with a reception featuring performances by the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra.