The Weitz Center for Creativity (WCC) will be ready to open in time for the 2011-2012 school year. The new arts center construction is still underway but will be completed by late July or early August according to Steven Richardson, the Director of the Arts and part of the project’s team. After construction is officially complete, “We’ll be able to move in at the end of summer so the facility will be up and running by the start of the school year,” said Richardson.
The WCC will serve as a more than just an art center. The 135,000 square ft building, formerly the Northfield Middle School will have a completely renovated and redesigned interior with many new features. The center will include a 250-seat theater, a large dance studio that doubles as a 100-seat performance space, a smaller dance studio with sprung floors, a 250-seat cinema for movie nights, two video production studios, an audio recording studio, a teaching museum that includes two art galleries, a drawing studio, a learning and teaching center, an Idea Lab, and classrooms. “The new theater will replace Arena Theater, which will be decommissioned sometime next year,” Richardson said. “It will ultimately be torn down.”
Unlike Arena, the WCC will have separate facilities for theater and dance performances, giving each arts practice their own space. The large dance studio will have retractable seats, in a similar system as bleachers in the gym, and a light and power grid. This will allow for dance performances to be dress-rehearsed in the dance space, a much more convenient system for dance companies like Semaphore.
The new cinema will be used for SUMO movie nights and can also be rented out to private groups who want to host their own showings. The audio recording center can be used for musicians who want to record their own music or for students doing projects that require audio voice-overs.
With the possibility that the Concert Hall will be taken out as well, the art gallery will find a new home in the WCC. “The teaching museum will be the next generation of Carleton’s Art Gallery,” said Richardson. The Teaching Museum will house two art galleries, one large and the other smaller. The smaller art gallery will most likely be for student artwork while the larger one will hold professional exhibits. The drawing studio will reside nearby, allowing students to have access to Carleton’s permanent art collection.
The Idea Lab will be the new PEPs resource center for technology help. Students will be able to reserve classrooms. Overall, the WCC will serve as a multi-functioning facility that students will be able to do almost anything in.
Students can look forward to utilizing the new center next year. “We’re completely on track to open this fall,” said Richardson. “We should be open by the first day of classes.”