The HWS community will celebrate the next phase of plans for a 65,000-square-foot Performing Arts Center at the heart of future activities around dance, theatre, music, and film screening for media and society, during a special groundbreaking ceremony on Friday, April 25.
Bringing together the Board of Trustees, President Mark D. Gearan, students, faculty and staff, alumni and alumnae, and other members of the HWS community, the ceremonial event will take place at 6:30 p.m. on the lawn in front of Williams Hall on Pulteney Street.
Representing more than five years of planning and thanks to the generosity of alumni, alumnae, parents, members of the HWS community, and New York’s Empire State Development, $28 million has been committed toward the project, the largest of its kind in the Colleges’ history. The proposed Performing Arts Center will be located in what is now Medbery Parking Lot, creating an academic commons on Pulteney Street.
Designed by acclaimed Cambridge, Mass.,-based architecture and planning firm The GUND Partnership, the brick building facade of the new center will be consistent with the campus aesthetic and include tall windows, steep pitched roofs and a tower. Internally, plans for the academic facility include a sweeping, open lobby that links flexible performance and rehearsal spaces specially designed for theatre, music and dance. Adaptable seating will allow for the creation of spaces that can be changed to accommodate multiple types of productions and audience sizes. In its current form, academic space for theatre, music and dance will seat, respectively, 140, 120 and 250 audience members.
The facility will also include acoustically robust rehearsal spaces, recital halls, faculty offices and a film screening room. The building will be wired with the latest technology, providing facilities for students interested in lighting, sound or stage management.
Additionally, the Performing Arts Center will play a larger role locally and across the region. Members of the greater Geneva community will share in the new arts and events space through community programs, as well as those hosted by HWS. In partnership with The Smith Center for the Arts, large-scale performances will continue to be held at the Smith Opera House in downtown Geneva.
As development moves forward, the Colleges have retained Welliver, located in Montour Falls, N.Y., as its construction manager. The local firm has significant experience in higher education development, including projects for R.I.T. and Cornell University. It is anticipated that the project will be certified LEED Silver at a minimum with work being done to achieve Gold. The building will feature natural storm water management, energy efficient utilities and LED performance lighting.