After being closed for renovation since fall quarter of 2011, the Evergreen State College’s Communications Building reopened last quarter with some spiffy new technology labs and performance spaces.
However, the recital hall isn’t scheduled to be fully renovated until the beginning of spring quarter at the earliest, said Performing Media Arts Manager Shannon Stewart. “We are not actively using it for Spring Quarter until we know that it is fully functional. We believe the room itself will be completed [by that time], but there is A.V. functionality and the connected recording studio, and we are running into some electronic issues.”
So far, there have been two public performances in the building – the Evergreen Singers held a recital in the new performance and production studio (Com 110) and a student performance of Macbeth in the Mini Experimental Theater (Seminar II D-4107). “Even though the MET is in Sem II, it is still supported by com building staff,” said Stewart.
Despite a history of giving many individual students, student groups, and even community performances a chance to use the building and its space, Stewart has found that com building staff is fighting a reputation of isolationism and of
difficulty in reserving space. “Piano practice rooms are all drop-in basis,” Stewart said. “You don’t even need to be enrolled in a performing or media arts program to use them.”
The labs are a bit different. “Generally speaking, you need to be enrolled in a program that teaches you how to use that facility,” she said, which often gives students a chance to take a proficiency test so they can use the room with less or no supervision. After students are proficient in using lab equipment, they are more free to reserve lab space and equipment for independent contracts or projects for different programs. The bottom line, Stewart said, is that they want students, student groups, faculty, and even events put on by the President’s Office to be able to use com building resources. The problem is that they also have to balance state and school resources against student and faculty interests because resources are so limited. The key, Stewart explained, is to apply and reserve space in advance.
What’s in the new COM building?
– 2-D animation lab
– 3-D animation lab
– Multiple piano practice rooms
– Multiple music technology labs
– Film screening rooms
– Film editing labs
– Rehearsal spaces
– Dance studios
– The costume shop
– The scene shop
– Audio production studios