November 11, 2022 | NEWS | By Eli Jaynes
Last April, Colorado College announced that the former Honnen Ice Arena would be renovated as the new home for 3D Arts and Creativity and Innovation. In an email announcing the project in April, Vice President and Dean of the College Pedro de Araujo wrote that construction would begin on the project after the end of last school year and be completed this fall.
Seven months later, the project is completely on hold, and Honnen looks exactly like it did when the project was announced.
Students and staff in the Arts department remain in the dark about why the project is on hold and when they can expect it to finally be completed.
In an email exchange with The Catalyst, the 3D Arts Shop Supervisor Natch Quinn said they had not been made aware of any timeline for the project, or exactly why it had been put on hold.
Sydney Vine, a senior art major, said information about the project is not being communicated to arts students. “I’ve gotten no news,” she said. “I’m confused and hopeful at the same time, but just no information is given to the students.”
Amber Brannigan, the Associate Vice President of Facilities, shed some light on the status of Honnen in a recent conversation with The Catalyst. Brannigan said that CC awarded a contract for the project in early June of this year. At that point, the contractor had told the college that the space would be renovated and ready for classes by the end of December.
According to Brannigan, just 10 days after the contract was signed, the contractor notified the college that the space would not be ready by December because a few essential pieces of equipment would not be available until late spring.
Equipment like an air handling unit, dust collection equipment, and a fire suppression system – all essential to a safe and functional workspace – would not be available for months.
When the college received the news that these pieces wouldn’t be available, Brannigan said they had to decide whether to begin demolishing the interior of Honnen as scheduled or wait until they had the equipment on hand.
“We very quickly had to make a decision as to whether we started [demolition] and have this active construction site, or totally pull back, put all the subcontractors on pause, and say we’re not going to do anything until we get this equipment in hand,” she said. “If we would have started [demolition] in there, it would have taken Honnen off the table.”
The college elected to hold off on any initial construction on Honnen this summer and fall, to allow the space to be used by the Arts department this semester, though Brannigan recognizes that it is a less-than-ideal classroom space currently.
Brannigan said that Honnen will remain in its current state until Block seven or eight when the necessary equipment should arrive. At that point, construction will begin on the space and will continue into the summer with the hope of having the project wrapped up before Block one of next year.
In the meantime, 3D Arts remains scattered in ad hoc classroom spaces around campus, without any permanent home.
This year’s class of senior art majors is the last group on campus who remembers the last time 3D Arts had a vibrant, permanent home, before it was torn down to make room for Ed Robson Arena. When Honnen opens next year, there won’t be a class on campus who got to experience the space that meant so much to the department.
That’s a particularly disheartening fact for Natch Quinn, who said in a recent email, “while I know that sense of community will be rebuilt in the new space (whenever that may be), it is a shame that the project has been delayed and put off so long that there will be no students on campus to carry on that legacy.”