As a lover of both the arts and environment, [Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences John] de Castro was persistent in finding a way to provide faculty and students with an area that would showcase different art forms in a beautiful environment. He not only envisioned a space used for the arts, but for the classrooms as well.
“The idea came from an understanding that we have a beautiful environment here and faculty love to come outside and share this environment with their students and have outdoor sessions, but we didn’t have an appropriate space,” de Castro said. “When I looked at the space here I thought it was perfect.”
Jesus Moroles is the artist and designer of the Arts Plaza. Moroles works as a granite sculptor. In 2008 he was the youngest person to receive the National Medal of Arts from former President George W. Bush. Moroles has more than 2,000 works in foreign countries such as Switzerland, China, Egypt, France, Italy, and Japan. Moroles created a space that would be able to hold seating for an event. Along with a 9 foot water wall, the space provides excellent acoustics.
The Arts Plaza and Outdoor Classroom is located behind the CHSS Building, adjacent to Johnson Coliseum. Wi-Fi will be provided outside for students.
"A new building would alleviate these issues, plus allow us to produce a building that will work more efficiently and be more aesthetically appealing on campus," BSM Director David Griffin said.
The university made an offer to buy the BSM building at a market price in January, but the BSM declined the offer to take on its own reconstruction project. “We declined to sell because our mission is very much tied to our location and is aided by it,” Griffin said. “One of the benefits of having a new building is that we will be here another sixty years. The campus is constantly improving; we want students to come here. We want to build something comparable to what the school is building.”
The largest logistical problem will come during the six to nine month construction project, during which time the BSM’s staff will likely operate out of one of the local Baptist churches. ...architects are currently working on a design that will await approval from a local feasibility board. After-which, the board will begin a time of fundraising.