Campus / News / September 28, 2016

Art building finished, focus shifts to SMC

The Whitcomb Art building stands empty, and will be opened at Homecoming. (Daniel Perez/TKS)

The Whitcomb Art building stands empty, and will be opened at Homecoming. (Daniel Perez/TKS)


As the Whitcomb Arts Building comes closer to its homecoming grand opening, attention has begun to shift to the college’s next building project: the Science and Math Center (SMC) A-Core renovation.

The $8.9 million new arts center, which received a foundational $5 million donation from alumni donors Dick ‘57 and Joan ‘56 Whitcomb, is set to open on Friday, Oct. 14 at 5 p.m. While it still has roughly $500,000 left to be raised, the college does not believe that this will be a problem. Most buildings have leftover “soft” costs, which can be covered through continued fundraising by large group crowdfunding. Alumni art majors and minors are the focus of this fundraising effort.

“On any project like this … we, through fundraising, have to pay for the entire building.” Vice President of Advancement Beverly Holmes said. “The way I look at it, I have $500,000 yet to go to reach my goal.” While 90 percent of the construction costs are needed to break ground, “soft” funds, which account for anything else, are accumulated throughout the process.

In the meantime, the college loans money or reallocates college funds to complete the project.

But as this project winds down, Knox has begun to turn its fundraising attention to the upcoming project of renovating the A-Core of SMC, a building which has not been renovated in over forty years. The same architect which designed Alumni Hall, Holabird and Root of Chicago, will design the SMC renovation.

Because the overall cost of renovating SMC is estimated at $42 million, college planners decided to split the building into five separate projects, the A-Core and each of the building’s wings. The project of renovating the A-Core will cost about $15 million, while each wing will cost about $6-8 million each.

“We’ve already started,” Holmes said of the A-Core plans. “We have a committee that has probably had two or three meetings now with the architects.”

A goal of the project that has already been highlighted by the committee is the desire for more communal, interdisciplinary spaces within SMC. The large classrooms in the core will be removed and changes may be in store for the library to update it to a more electronic-friendly space. The official ‘front’ of the building is also likely to shift from the South St. entrance to the east facing doors. As with Alumni Hall, there will be an emphasis on bringing natural light into the core.

SMC, however, faces a challenge not seen in Alumni Hall or the Whitcomb Arts Center: during the construction, the building will remain in use. But while schematic planning period has begun, it will likely take some years to raise enough money to begin the project in earnest.

Callie Rouse
Callie Rouse graduated in 2017 as a international relations major and double minor in creative writing and history. She has been involved in journalism since her sophomore year in high school and worked for The Knox Student for four years. She worked as a News Editor her sophomore to senior years. During her freshman year Callie served as Student Government Reporter.

Tags:  fundraising renovations smc whitcomb art building

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