After more than a year and a half of construction and renovation, the $15 million Studzinski Recital Hall is set to open next week with a series of inaugural concerts.

Formerly the Curtis Pool building, the 21,000-square-foot music performance and practice facility features the 280-seat Kanbar Auditorium, nine practice rooms, and rehearsal space.

"I think the recital hall will transform music at the College," Professor of Music Mary Hunter said in a press release. "Having a beautiful place, dedicated to performance, tells students visibly that we are serious about music."

"We approached this project with the mentality that 'If you build it, they will come,'" said Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs Scott Hood. Officials hope that by building a state-of-the-art concert hall for serious musicians, talented performers will flock to the College.

According to Hood, talk of converting the Curtis Pool building?which had stored "junk and textbooks" since the completion of Greason Pool in 1987?began in the '90s. However, because of other construction projects, such as new dorms, and financial constraints, plans were not made until summer 2005. Construction then began in November of that year.

The Studzinski Recital Hall was designed by William Rawn Associates of Boston, in partnership with Lawrence Kirkegaard Associates and Theatre Projects Consultants. This team has worked together on numerous other music and performing arts projects, including the acclaimed Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood, Massachusetts.

Architect William Rawn said in a press release, "We designed the building to meet the unique needs of student performers...we saw the recital hall as a place that will bring the Bowdoin community together, a place of gathering and celebration. To that end we conceived of the hall as a warm, inviting space with natural birch woodwork and filled with natural light."

Inside Kanbar Auditorum?the 280-seat, 4,250-square-foot centerpiece of the hall?curved geometry produces an oval-shaped "vessel for music," giving sound in the room a rich, defined texture.

The space also features 10 pylons, which act as acoustical curtains and can be adjusted depending on what kind of music is played in the hall. Though most seats directly face the stage, there is also some seating around the sides of the room. Video and audio recording equipment linked to the stage also allow performers to review their taped rehearsals and concerts.

President Barry Mills was enthusiastic about the hall's completion.

"The imagination, energy, and skill applied to transform our former swimming pool into a first-class recital hall reflects Bowdoin's commitment to the arts and music as vital components of a liberal arts education," he said in a press release.

Mills also praised John Studzinski and Elliott and Maurice Kanbar, the principal donors for the hall.

The hall takes its name from Studzinski, a member of the Class of 1978. A trustee of the College, he currently works as an investment banker.

Studzinski Recital Hall's official inaugural concerts will take place in Kanbar Auditorium next Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The concert will feature performances by the College's chamber choir, concert band, and orchestra, among other ensembles.

Gibson Hall, the current music building, will continue to serve the College, providing practice studios to students and offices to music professors. But Bowdoin musicians will now have a new location where they can practice, play and perform.

In a press release, Cristle Collins Judd, dean of academic affairs and musicologist, said, "The rich culture of sound here goes back a long way, and now this recital hall will be a gathering place for those who love music long into the future."