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Construction begins on new fine arts complex
February 16, 1998

Work began last week on the more than $13 million addition to and renovation of the University's fine arts complex.

The construction company O&G Industries of Torrington - the same firm that built the University's first parking garage - removed several trees from the site of planned additions to the complex, secured the site, and began the process of relocating underground telecommunications lines. Excavation will begin on the new complex in March, says Larry Schilling, University architec.

The project, which is expected to be completed by October 1999, includes a new music library, a new band/orchestra wing, and renovations to the existing fine arts buildings.

"While we all are interested in the growing development of industry and business, we're also interested at UConn in the quality of life in Connecticut. The arts add significantly to that quality. This helps attract industry and employees to the state," said Robert Gray, dean of the School of Fine Arts and a member of the Connecticut Commission on the Arts.

The music library, a three-story, circular structure, will seat nearly 100 students, nearly half in individual or group listening areas. With more than 16,000 LPs in storage - and another 16,000 on the shelves - the new building will allow school officials to greatly expand the collections, which already number thousands of musical scores, CDs, audio and video cassettes, and journals.

A new band/orchestra wing, located at the intersection of Route 195 and Mansfield Road, will connect to the music building and, through the new music library, to the existing drama wing of complex. Once completed, the structures will create a quad in the grassy area that currently features a large red sculpture.

Besides the 65,000-square-feet of new space, renovations throughout the existing complex will result in new floors, ceilings, roofs, windows, and other enhancements to the building.

"A university is not complete without the infusion of the arts - in all forms - into its intellectual and social life. The fine arts project will enable both the academic arts and the arts in general to be melded more widely and more completely into University programming toward the betterment of both the institution and those who are a part of it," Chancellor Mark Emmert said when the project was announced last September.

Richard Veilleux.