Cowles Music Center prepares to open after delays

by Lacy Nguyen|Staff Writer

As they return for the 2016-2017 school year, students have anticipated the reveal of the Cowles Music Center. The new music building was scheduled to be done by fall 2016 before students and staff arrived on campus. The construction involves renovating the current 15,625 square foot building, and adding an additional 6,000 square feet that will include new practice rooms for musicians.

Although the building was scheduled to be finished, there have been some delays due to construction issues.

“Our initial goal was to be open and ready by the time school started. However, we are planning to be wrapped up with construction in the next couple of weeks,” facilities project manager Fred Johnston said.

Much of the delay was due to issues with the glass work of the building and the air conditioning/heating systems.
Cowles delays:

“We had some delays with the critical glazing systems and the HVAC systems,” Johnston said.
Despite the delay in construction, there will not be any escalation of cost for the building.

“Luckily one week or two of delay will not cost us any more money,” Johnston said.  “Previously we were only concerned with escalation cost if we delayed the project for another year or two.”
Many music students have adjusted well to the current construction at the building and are looking forward to its finish.

“Last year sometimes in the middle of class there would be loud banging and hammering and it was a bit distracting, but it wasn’t ever a big deal,” senior Emily Myhere said. “As a piano major I’m looking forward to having more grand pianos and having bigger practice rooms with windows because all of the practice rooms are very claustrophobic right now.”

About $300,000 of the $13.5 million dollar project is dedicated to provide new pianos for both practice rooms and teaching studios.

The opening of the Cowles Music Center will serve the needs of students and faculty with its additional classrooms and state-of-the-art equipment.  

“It actually has been really exciting seeing all of the construction because the building we are in right now is not designed for chorale rehearsals,” sophomore choir member Nicholas Bratt said. “Not only will it look better, but it will be more technically advanced because it’s been designed to be acoustically favorable.”

The building will include rehearsal space for every ensemble, along with new percussion rooms and conference rooms.

“I am very excited to see the building finished. The design is fantastic really,” Johnston said. “The students and staff have all been very patient and understanding. I know it’s never easy to go to school with construction going on, but they have been very flexible and willing to work around it.”