GU Plans Performing Arts Center

Building Will Be Free for Groups’ Use

By Niraj Pahlajani Hoya Staff Writer

Georgetown University will have a new on-campus performing arts center dedicated to music and theatre performance and education sometime in the next two years, according to Janice Johnson, Executive Director of Development Communications.

Johnson said that the “Ryan Administrative Building will be renovated and expanded and the administrative offices removed” to accommodate practice rooms, offices and classrooms. There would also be a 350 seat auditorium for student use where student groups could perform free of charge.

The Ryan Administrative Building is located near Healy. It houses Student Accounts.

The architectural design and facility plans are still in the preliminary stages, and the building will not be constructed until after the Southwest Quadrangle project has begun. The Southwest Quadrangle project will build a sophomore dorm and clear students from nearby Burleith neighborhoods.

Still, fundraising projects for the performing arts center have been successful thus far with $7 million already donated by the BNA, and the rest of the budgeted $20 million coming from the third-century campaign, Johnson said. The third-century campaign is the university’s fund-raising campaign to raise $750 million through donations. Other gifts related to the center include a $2 million donation for the Thomas E. Caestecker chair, the first endowed chair in the Arts, Music and Theatre department.

Jeff Morelle (MSB ’00), who works in the AMTH office in Walsh and in WGTB’s sound amplification services, said “anything that advances the cause for the incredible amount of student and faculty talent present in this school is good as long as it stays within the domain of free access for the students and of the department rather than the MBNA.”

Because of the $7 million donation, the center may be called the BNA Performing Arts Center, according to Johnson. While Gaston does charge student groups to use its sound system, the new center is special in that it will be free of charge, said Johnson.

Elizabeth Prelinger, chair of the Department of Art, Music and Theatre, said the new center will not be used just within the academic department, but will be available to everybody. Building the center “will be one of the most transformative things that could happen on the Georgetown campus,” Prelinger said.

Despite the general benefits of the arts center to a multitude of student performers, some students remain concerned that the money is better spent elsewhere on what they see as more pressing needs. “I really don’t see a need for the performing arts center. The money could be used for new computer lab facilities, hiring new professors and for undergraduate research projects,” said Amit Khanna (COL ’99).

However, other students remain steadfast that there is an unquestionable need for a performing arts presence at Georgetown. Kiran Reddy (COL ’99) said that “Based upon Georgetown’s reputation, it would be expected as an obligation for the school to develop a strong arts program, which is essential for a complete liberal arts education.”

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