By CHASE GORSKI
Salisbury University is on the doorstep of continuing to expand its physical footprint on the community once more, but is still awaiting final plans to move the 3-D arts programs across Route 13.
Just a year ago SU purchased the old Tri-State Engineering building and office on Milford Street for $525,000 as a future home for these three programs. The main building, a 12,000 square foot shop, is at the center of this project after it became apparent that the 3,000 square foot office would need to be rebuilt.
The plan is to turn this building into a 3-D Arts Center, in turn relocating the sculpture, glass and ceramics programs across Route 13 and under one roof. This move would greatly expand on the space needed for these three programs which have been located within studios in Fulton Hall until now.
The project is currently in the negotiation phase, as faculty and administration members try to determine the needs of each program and assess the feasibility of each. Early negotiations were stalled due to a large gap between fund allocations.
Director of Architectural and Engineering Services Jeffrey Downes explained that the funds, totaling around $4 million, have already been allocated for the project.
“We’re kind of struggling to get out of the starting box because the art faculty are not happy that there’s only $4 million,” Downes said. “Right now we’re trying to get 26,000 square foot of program into a 12,000 square foot box.”
The need is clear, as each of these programs have steadily grown over the years to the point that Fulton Hall no longer is an appropriate place to keep them. The current setup for sculpture, glass and ceramics takes up about 7,000 square feet of interior and exterior space. Dean of the Fulton School Dr. Maarten Pereboom sees relocation as a priority for the school due to that growth and the need for a more inviting facility.
“All of these areas are growing, doing well. We’ve got great faculty there and great students,” Pereboom said. “The idea behind moving the 3-D programs is to better support the creative activities that happen in those areas.”
With the growing need for space throughout the years in Fulton, faculty and students have had to improvise with what is available. With a majority of faculty offices located within Fulton, there is only so much more space available, which increases the need for relocation.
Pereboom explained that the process begins with meetings between faculty and the facilities team in order to outline whatever needs there are for the specific project. These negotiations typically begin with one side asking for more than is available, and is followed up by a period of prioritizing.
That period of prioritizing is where Pereboom and his faculty currently sit.
“We have yet to develop a plan that would be achievable…it certainly would be desirable to have that all under one roof,” Pereboom said. “I don’t think we’ve gotten to the point where we’ve identified ‘here are the things that are essential, here are the things that we would need to do.’”
While increased space is the main advantage to be gained from the move, like releasing the glass-blowing studio from its currently cramped space and lack of ability for the sculpture program, there are other benefits to come.
With unique visual arts comes a desire to promote them, but because of the current situation according to Pereboom there are limited moments for these arts to be put on display.
Despite the current lack of agreement with the financial aspects of the move, Pereboom is optimistic that this project will be completed within two years. With the possibility of an expansion on the building, there is hope that each of these three programs will be able to fit within the old industrial building.
“Because we are running out of space here, I think these programs are very cramped and really sort of limited by the space constraints,” Pereboom said. “The sooner we can liberate those programs the better.”
The specific building has been seen as a big upgrade for these programs, being deemed as more fitting for the creative progress than a typically classroom look.
In SU’s 2017 press release following the purchase of the property, Bill Wolff and Steve Durow, then directors of the sculpture and hot glass programs respectively, explained their excitement over the idea.
Combining the potential for indoor and outdoor space at the Tri-State building while also bringing together each of these programs promoting collaborations puts SU in rare company.
“This is the only sculpture program in Maryland that has access to hot glass,” Wolff said.
Durow also expressed the importance in these facilities when it comes to recruiting prospective students into these programs.
A great benefit to these programs, students can look forward to this being next on the horizon for SU in terms of physical changes. The switch will mark the first academic programs being housed on East Campus joining a plethora of athletic fields.