Performing Arts Building Needs
Since the last expansion of our performing arts facilities in 2004, Westminster’s performing arts departments have grown dramatically. There are now six majors and three minors offered by the music, theatre, and dance programs, with 120 enrollments in major programs and nearly 200 enrollments in minor programs. Each academic year, these students perform in more than 50 performances of nearly 25 different productions.
The new three-story, 25,000-square-foot expansion will provide facilities that are needed to appropriately serve the students currently enrolled in our arts programs, as well as to make anticipated enrollment growth possible.
Growing steadily since the creation of the music major in 2010, the Florence J. Gillmor School of Music is on track to meet its goal of 64 students majoring in the music program in the next five years. That growth will increase the number of ensembles, recitals, master classes, and private lessons. With our current music spaces already at—and frequently over—capacity, this growth will require additional space.
The new expansion will feature 18 individual and group instruction/practice rooms; a choir rehearsal room; and a beautiful 100-seat music hall for recitals, chamber music productions, master classes, lectures, and other more intimate gatherings.
Since the introduction of the theatre BFA in 2012, the theatre department has experienced unprecedented growth and currently exceeds its cap of 64 students. Teaching spaces and production facilities have not kept up with this growth. At present, the costume and scene shops, which service all three performing arts departments while also serving as the primary classroom space for theatre design and technology courses, are limited in the number of students they can effectively accommodate. At the same time, theatre courses, production rehearsals, and set construction all use the two performance spaces, severely limiting the time each has access to the space.
The performing arts expansion will enlarge the scene and costume shops, drastically increasing the capacity for teaching and production services. The rehearsal space will accommodate acting classes during the day and production rehearsals in the evenings, leaving the two performance spaces more available for set construction and design and technology courses. The private practice rooms, shared with the music department, will provide space for acting students to rehearse class assignments and audition materials.
The dance program, founded in 2016, has no facilities on campus. Off-campus spaces must be rented at great expense to accommodate dance courses, and these spaces have changed year to year—some as far from campus as Draper. Despite this, dance’s enrollment has been astounding, with 25 students currently enrolled in the dance major program.
The addition of a combination performance/rehearsal space will allow dance students the same basic convenience every other student has: to have their classes on the Westminster campus. This space will provide for more performance opportunities, as well as rehearsal space for student projects, such as senior recitals. The addition will also include a green room and dressing rooms for dancers and other performers.