The Whitney Electric building held its final art show last block after a long history of live performances, art installations, and raves. Due to the lack of structural safety, the building, much beloved by art majors, will now be used for storage.
Neither the Regional Building Department nor CSPD Code Enforcement have deemed the building “condemned,” according to Deputy Fire Marshal Captain Ray Johnson.
Instead, Colorado College has deemed the building unsafe.
“I think the building is not safe for people to occupy. It has one door and no running water,” Robert Moore, VP for Finance and Administration, said. “I think it is safe for storage. The cost, I feel, is prohibitive to bring plumbing into that building. Beyond storage, I don’t think there is any other safe use for the building.”
The building was originally owned by the Whitney Electric Company and used for storage. Now it belongs to CC and for many art students, the space has become synonymous with presentation and accomplishment.
“In terms of artistic value, it is the only building near campus that has no constraints. It’s this unique space where both Colorado Springs and Colorado College interact on the outside wall,” Lindsay Murdoch, senior art student, said. “It’s covered in graffiti. Some of it is from CC students and some of it is from the Springs. There really are no constraints.”
Senior Art Student Tsipora Prochovnick was lucky enough to snag the last show in the building.
“It’s not really special that it’s the last installation in the Whitney building; it’s just sad that there won’t be any more shows,” Prochovnick said. “I have no idea what they’re going to do with the space. Lila was supposed use the space after me, but she got bumped into these old studios, and it was just not the same space. It was kind of bad, I thought.”
Senior art student Lila Pickus was supposed to present her installation during block 6. However, a week before her show, she was unexpectedly told by the college that she couldn’t use the building.
However, Colorado College has responded with a new space for art.
Located in the Johnson Building, the space will serve as a new spot for art shows. The space was completed two weeks ago, according to Chris Coulter, Director of Facilities Services.
“We’re trying to fix up that space so that art students have a place,” Moore said. “The art department’s sculpture studio is also conveniently located in Johnson.”
“One perspective is that the building does not meet the ADA’s disability services guidelines because it lacks a bathroom,” Murdoch said of the Whitney building. “It ends up making our school look bad in terms of how we choose to meet these national certifications. It can only be used as a storage space instead of upgrading it. It can’t officially be a meeting ground.”
The building also might not be suitable for the art shows because shows that require electricity often short-circuit the power. Despite these constraints, the building has hosted many memorable events. Pictures can be found on WordPress dedicated to the building.
“It used to be a venue. The seniors will remember ‘Masquerave’ happened there. I went. It was ridiculous,” Murdoch said. “It was the first time and only time since I’ve been at CC and seen a police officer throw someone to the ground and arrest them.”
Students also banded together in 2008 to restore the building for the purpose of art shows.
“I can’t think of any comparable space on campus,” Prochovnick said.
She said, “There really isn’t a place on campus for students to go to just mess around.”