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CDI Contractors to Build $15 Million Visual Arts Center at Fort Smith

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The University of Arkansas at Fort Smith said Tuesday CDI Contractors of Little Rock will be construction manager on a $15 million, 58,000-SF visual arts facility scheduled to open in fall 2015.

The three-story building will be designed by WER Architects of Little Rock and sit at the southwest corner of Waldron Road and Kinkead Avenue near Stubblefield Center, The Lion’s Den and the Baldor Technology Center. The Kinkead Annex, an older building at that location that houses the Alumni Office and the Center for Lifelong Learning, will be razed.

Chancellor Paul Beran said he expects the new facility to be designed according to LEED standards.

“Our campus has long needed a building designated for these programs,” Beran said. “This will provide our students with arts-related classrooms and studios in a purposefully designed facility, bringing a cohesiveness to the visual arts programs for students that has not been physically possible with varied locations.”

UAFS is receiving a $15.5 million grant from the Windgate Charitable Foundation of Siloam Springs to build and equip the facility.

The center will house gallery spaces; a letterpress and printmaking operation; graphic design laboratories; and rooms for photography, painting, sculpture and art history. A freshmen foundations program, which includes basic courses in drawing, design, typography and digital imaging, will be housed there as well. A 150-seat film theater is also included

“We currently have no place on campus for showing films,” Beran said. “This will give us a small theater for film series efforts, but it will also be used for classes when needed.”

There are about 120 graphic design majors and 50 studio art majors enrolled at the university.

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