April 15, 2022 | NEWS | By Eli Jaynes
Displaced by one hockey arena and moved into another: 3D Arts is moving into a permanent home inside Honnen Ice Arena.
The new space is set to undergo renovation in the coming months and aims to be finished sometime next fall. Instead of demolishing the former ice rink as originally planned, the project will renovate the space to include classrooms and office space for 3D Arts and Integrative Design and Architecture, as well as Creativity & Innovation.
For students and faculty in 3D Arts, the project is much needed and long overdue – though some feel it’s not as perfect as the college makes it sound.
Back in 2020, the former 3D arts shop was demolished to make room for the construction of Ed Robson Arena. Current juniors and seniors that were lucky enough to experience that space say it was a particularly special spot that helped pull them into 3D Arts and Design.
“It was like 12,000 square feet of indoor-outdoor shop space,” says Leo Fowler ’22, an Integrative Design and Architecture major. “It just felt like so lived in and used and kind of like loved as a space.”
Andrew Epprecht ’22, a fellow IDA major, echoes Fowler’s feelings. Epprecht says he wasn’t expecting to major in art when he came to Colorado College, but that the old space was a significant draw for him. During his first semester at CC, Epprecht would go to the old workshop constantly to hang out and do homework for other classes, just because he loved the space so much.
With the arrival of the $52 million Ed Robson Arena came the demolition of the 3D Arts shop, which left arts students and faculty scrambling to find an adequate replacement for the space they lost.
A professor in the Arts department who preferred to remain anonymous says that the arena went up without any concrete plan to relocate the 3D arts space. For the nearly two and a half years since, 3D Arts at CC has had to make do with the little space they can find. The current hub of 3D Arts and Design is located in a small makeshift shop on Nevada Avenue known as the “mod pod.”
Fowler says he has felt “unseen” by the college in the years since the old shop was demolished. It has made his major much harder to pursue, and dramatically changed the course of his last two and a half years at CC.
Epprecht and Syndey Dunham ’23 share similar feelings. They say the past few years show that the college’s priorities don’t lie with them as arts students. Instead, Epprecht says the Ed Robson Arena saga opened his eyes to the fact that the college is a business – and it operates like one. He says the 3D Arts department has managed to get by over the last two years purely because of problem solving by a great group of faculty members and students within the Arts.
The prospect of a new 3D arts space in Honnen comes with both excitement and skepticism from the Arts department.
Natch Quinn, the staff supervisor of the 3D Arts space, expresses a level of excitement for the space that seems to be shared by many people in the department. “I think people are very excited to have a space again that’s all in one spot,” said Quinn.
After years of scattered classes and semi-functional spaces, members of the department are relieved to have a space to call their own again. Some, like Epprecht, are hopeful that the new space will become a hub of creativity just like the previous workshop.
Though Fowler is generally excited about the new space, he does point to a particular irony of project that encompasses the feelings of many arts students and faculty. He highlights the fact that the former arts space was leveled to build a new hockey arena, and that the college’s solution was to give the Arts department the “dirty laundry” of an arena they didn’t want anymore.
A professor in the arts department who preferred to remain anonymous told The Catalyst that actions by the college in recent years have caused Arts students and faculty to feel undervalued and unheard, and that the Honnen renovation is no different.
They say the budget for the project is “absurdly” low, forcing the designers to cut back on essential features of the proposed space. For example, the building likely won’t include space for senior studios, which are essential spaces for seniors working on thesis projects. Additionally, there doesn’t appear to be enough money in the budget for an adequate HVAC system, which is important for maintaining good air quality and ventilation, a seemingly necessary feature in the era of COVID-19.
These budget shortfalls don’t appear to be getting communicated to students. Fowler was on a committee responsible for choosing the new home for 3D arts, but says he was removed from the committee along with another student member after Honnen was chosen this fall. He and others have been left unaware of the specific budget constraints on the project.
With construction beginning in a matter of weeks, it remains to be seen whether the 3D arts space in Honnen will match the beloved workshop that was swept away by Ed Robson Arena more than two years ago.