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2012 News Releases
Longwood opens new art building that blends new and old
September 13, 2012
The new Bedford Hall, home of Longwood University's art program, officially reopened Thursday, Sept. 13, with nearly three times the space and many improved features.
The nearly $28.2 million project added a new section in the front of the building and included an extensive renovation of the existing space. The new Bedford has nearly twice as much studio space and is better-equipped. It also has a glass-walled art gallery fronting Brock Commons, two outdoor water features and an open feel with lots of light.
"This building has been worth waiting for," Interim President Marge Connelly said just before she and others cut the ribbon officially opening the new Bedford. "It will provide a terrific creative learning environment."
The addition was done first and was completed Aug. 1, 2011. That was followed by the renovation of the former Bedford, finished by the second week of August 2012.
"The addition and the renovation have been blended very well," said Bob Chambers, project manager for Capital Planning and Construction. "Unless you knew, you wouldn't be able to tell what was old from what was new."
Both the functionality and the aesthetics of the new Bedford have drawn widespread praise.
"Students will benefit in many ways, most significantly by having large studio spaces specifically dedicated to each type of art medium," said Dr. Wayne McWee, chair of the recently organized Department of Theatre, Art and Graphic Design. "The new graphic design labs are state-of-the-art and provide students with the opportunity to work on projects mirroring the real world. We also have multiple spaces for students to exhibit their work."
Chris Register, professor of art, who teaches graphic design, the most popular art concentration, couldn't be happier with the three digital media labs, located on the second floor of the renovated building.
"This has changed the way we teach," he said. "We can move tables around, which allows for more collaboration and more team teaching, and couches and chairs in the corner enable students and clients to confer as they do in a design agency. Students can project images from their computer onto one of five screens on the walls-we can project the same image on all five screens, or a different image on each screen. Even though the building is wireless, there are 16 ports in each of these labs for floor-mounted data and power, which means you're never more than a cord away from the Internet."
The 48,455-square-foot addition extended the building's north side toward and behind Wygal Hall and extended its front toward Brock Commons, aligning it with the front of Wygal. Bedford now has 74,862 gross square feet of space. Before the renovation and expansion, space-related issues in Bedford, built in 1970, had become acute as the department grew. The art program has about 176 majors and 34 minors.
The project also added a reflecting pool outside the front of the building, between the glass-walled gallery and Brock Commons. One of the building's most distinctive features are glass fins on the outside of the gallery's glass wall. The only unfinished work is a water feature between Bedford and the Center for Communication Studies and Theatre, which is awaiting stainless steel tubes that are in transit from Sweden. Water will be pumped up through the tubes, which will be mounted vertically, and discharged through a stainless steel scupper.
Ground for the project was broken in November 2009. The general contractor was Costello Construction of Columbia, Md.