Less than three months after the project began, electrical and mechanical work is beginning on the new Longfellow Arts Building. The project will transform the old Longfellow Elementary School into a new hub for art studios, offices and gallery space. It is on schedule to be completed in August 2013.
After acquiring the building from the Town of Brunswick in the fall of 2011, the Board of Trustees approved the project at its October, 2012 meeting.
The original building, which was built in the 1920s and had subsequent additions and renovations in the 1940s and 1980s, will maintain much of its original design and character.
“We’re trying to recycle as much as we can,” said Dean of Academic Affairs Cristle Collins Judd.
The building is currently 38,000 square feet but will be expanded to 44,000 square feet and will include a digital media lab, a woodshop, a printmaking studio, a dance studio, gallery spaces, faculty offices and studio space for drawing, painting, sculpture and other visual arts classes.
“The point of this is to consolidate all of our visual arts,” said Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer Katy Longley.
Currently, the art facilities are scattered in six different buildings around town and according to Judd, some of them are “less than ideal.”
The completion of the Longfellow Arts Building on the south end of campus will mark the fourth on-campus arts building, with Pickard Memorial Theatre at the north, Studzinski Recital Hall on the east, and the Bowdoin College Museum of Art on the west.
“This location as a hub for student arts couldn't be better,” Judd said.
In addition to the transformation of the building, lights will be added to the path from Brunswick Apartments to Thorne. The Town of Brunswick will lease the playground adjacent to the Longfellow School from Bowdoin and it will remain a public playground.
The project's total budget is $6 million and is primarily funded by proceeds from a recent bond issue.
Photos by Matthew Gutschenritter for The Bowdoin Orient. Floor plan and rendering courtesy of Bowdoin Office of Communication.