A new four-story building dedicated to the arts and humanities will soon grace the Texas A&M University campus landscape, Interim President R. Bowen Loftin announced Tuesday to a gathering of faculty from the College of Liberal Arts.
The 107,000-square-foot building will be located in the historic core of the Texas A&M campus, between the Melbern G. Glasscock History Building and the Jack K. Williams Administration Building. Interdisciplinary in its design, the building will permanently house the departments of English and Performance Studies.
“This is a signature construction project for Texas A&M and underscores our commitment to fulfilling the goals outlined in Vision 2020 – our quest to become recognized as one of the top 10 public universities in the country,” Dr. Loftin said. “Specifically, this wonderful new building will provide a tangible foundation as we address Imperative 4 of Vision 2020, which is to ‘Build the Letters, Arts and Sciences Core’ of the university.”
Construction of the arts and humanities building is expected to cost approximately $46 million, of which $20 million will be based through the Permanent University Fund. The balance will come from university and philanthropic sources, Dr. Loftin said.
“I would like to extend my appreciation to Chancellor Mike McKinney and his staff at the A&M System office for helping make this long-time goal of our administration and faculty become a reality,” Dr. Loftin said. “The A&M System’s active management of allocations from the Permanent University Fund and recent issuance of bonds allowed us to finally move this project off the drawing boards.”
Enrollment in the College of Liberal Arts currently ranks second among Texas A&M’s 10 colleges at more than 6,800 students, including approximately 6,000 undergraduate majors and 823 graduate students. The college’s more than 360 faculty members generated $7.6 million in competitively funded extramural funding in the liberal arts in the last academic year and support 46 degree programs, including 11 at the master’s and 10 at the doctoral levels.
“The future arts and humanities building indicates that Texas A&M recognizes our place as a comprehensive research university,” said College of Liberal Arts Dean Charles A. Johnson, who is stepping down from his post after eight years to become senior associate vice president for research in the Division of Research and Graduate Studies, effective Nov. 1. “We are excited about how this new building will enhance new faculty and student recruitment and programmatic development as we build upon Texas A&M’s growing national and international reputation in the arts and humanities.”
The faculty in Texas A&M’s Department of English include three recipients of prestigious Guggenheim Fellowships, the editor of the World Shakespeare Bibliography and international leadership of The Donne Variorum project. Established in 1999, the Department of Performance Studies was the first department at Texas A&M solely devoted to the arts. Faculty and students from the department have already received several national and international performance awards and invitations to perform at many of the top venues in the world.
Additionally, the arts and humanities building is expected to enhance interdisciplinary collaborations among the English and history departments and the Melbern G. Glasscock Center for Humanities Research, as well as collaborations between the Department of Performance Studies and the Department of Visualization within Texas A&M’s College of Architecture.
“I cannot think of a better way to thank Dean Johnson for his eight years of service in the College of Liberal Arts than to finally begin this project in earnest,” Dr. Loftin said. “Constructing an arts and humanities building on the Texas A&M campus has been a labor of love for him and the entire college for several years, and this is a fitting tribute to his dedication and legacy of service for the liberal arts on our campus.”
Construction on the arts and humanities building is expected to begin in early 2010.