Ent Center for the Arts an artistic feat, but details lack for students

March 13, 2018

Caleb Bolin

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After more than a decade of extensive planning, visioning, constructing and getting down to the nitty-gritty, the vision for the Ent Center for the Arts was finally realized.

For a number of dedicated workers, it is a both an impressive work of art as well as a practical space for artists and the community.

However, that’s not the entire reality of the facility. While the Ent Center for the Arts is an impressive, beautiful piece of architecture, there is still work to be done to reach its full potential.

The newly completed building required about $70 million total, with a $60 million bulk for the building itself and $10 million needed for infrastructure, roads and sidewalks on the property, according to Carolyn Fox, executive director of Construction and Planning.

The original design overshot the budget by about 25 percent. It was a process that, from beginning to end, took 15 years, since the first drawings submitted in 2003.

Stage one of the process required a lot of involvement, and required a series of feasibility studies, including everything from deciding the specific activities that should occur to the cost per square footage, according to Fox.

Included in the list of the building’s marvels: a multimillion dollar recording studio, a New York-imported Steinway grand piano costing $148,000 alone and a large wall representing the names of the donors who made the dream come alive.

One of the things that Fox believes has yet to be realized is the representation of visual arts at The Ent Center. Additionally, her team hopes to put in a set shop for the theater department, which is one of a few main plans for phase two of the project.

While the Ent Center in its 92,000-square foot glory, but like any other major project, has its flaws.

As a music student in the building, I am already recognizing tangible ways that the money wasn’t spent on the building. Old music equipment like amps and parts for the drum kits are either missing or do not function correctly. It is frustrating that smaller details like these were overlooked in favor of a hip café area near the lobby.

I have heard other students in the same degree program who experience the same space at the Ent Center. In picking their brain for their opinions, I have found that many of them believe similarly, that even the music program has been modified in relation to the new building and not everything is efficient at the Ent Center.

We are still only a few months moved into the fine arts facility, but it does not hide the fact that there is still much work to be done. The leftover money from the project $1.4 million should be spent, but it should be spent on things that matter, including some of the smaller details that were previously overlooked.

There was a great deal of splurging for state-of-the-art products, yet sufficient space for parking is lacking.

The project is long from being complete.