15 Highlights of 2015 – New Visual Arts Building Announced for UALR thanks to gift from Windgate Foundation

Entry DriveFor the final fifteen days of 2015, a look back at some of the cultural highlights of 2015.

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In May, UALR announced plans for a new Visual Arts Building.  With a target date to open in fall 2017, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s newest building will be among the finest higher education facilities in the country for visual arts education.

UALR unveiled the design concept for the 71,636 square-foot building during a news conference in the Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall. The visual arts building will be funded by a $20.3 million grant award approved by the Trustees of the Windgate Charitable Foundation, headquartered in Siloam Springs. The grant, designated for building construction and equipment, is the second largest gift in UALR’s history.

UALR serves about 1,000 students each year who are enrolled in visual arts classes. This semester, 180 students have designated visual arts as their major, and there are 16 full-time faculty devoted to visual arts programs.

The new facility, to be located on the UALR campus at 28th Street and East Campus Drive, will bring together under one roof the applied design program currently located at University Plaza and the art history and studio arts programs currently in the Fine Arts Building, a structure built in 1977 to house the departments of art and music.

The new building will integrate UALR’s Applied Design, Art History and Studio Arts classes into a facility that promotes collaboration and creativity between students, faculty and guests under one roof. Drawing/Painting/Printmaking/Art History and 2D Design and Illustration classrooms will be located on the north side of the building to make use of the large expanse of glass along 28th Street.

Faculty and administrative offices will be oriented on the south side to take advantage of the campus and natural plaza views. Photography and Graphic Design spaces will complete the programs that are housed within the visual arts track.

Students and visitors have the opportunity to experience two generous art galleries within the building showcasing both permanent and transitional exhibits or attend a guest lecturer speaking in the 80-seat lecture hall and reception venue on the ground floor.

The Applied Design spaces will be organized within a single story industrial high bay section of the building to take advantage of the expansive volumes of space necessary for Sculpture/Metalsmithing/Furniture Design /3D Craft & Fibers/Ceramics. Each of these spaces has access to an outdoor studio space that allows work on large pieces with natural ventilation and sunlight.

The building will be designed to achieve a LEED Silver rating with the USGBC LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Art/Applied Design track, a unique program in Arkansas, primarily serves students interested in the study of traditional arts and crafts representative of the South Central region of the U.S., with particular emphasis upon craft practices within Arkansas.

“The vision of the Department of Art is to be a destination center for students intent on pursuing lifelong careers in the visual arts,” said department chair Tom Clifton. “This new facility will enable the department to embrace traditional, contemporary, and technological approaches to the visual arts in central Arkansas and provide opportunities for students throughout the southern region of the United States.

The Windgate Charitable Foundation has provided consistent and visionary support of the UALR Department of Art through scholarships, program support, visiting artists, workshops and gallery exhibitions.

New Visual Arts Building Announced for UALR thanks to gift from Windgate Foundation

With a target date to open in fall 2017, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s newest building will be among the finest higher education facilities in the country for visual arts education.

UALR unveiled the design concept for the 71,636 square-foot building today during a news conference in the Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall. The visual arts building will be funded by a $20.3 million grant award approved by the Trustees of the Windgate Charitable Foundation, headquartered in Siloam Springs. The grant, designated for building construction and equipment, is the second largest gift in UALR’s history.

UALR serves about 1,000 students each year who are enrolled in visual arts classes. This semester, 180 students have designated visual arts as their major, and there are 16 full-time faculty devoted to visual arts programs.
Entry Drive
The new facility, to be located on the UALR campus at 28th Street and East Campus Drive, will bring together under one roof the applied design program currently located at University Plaza and the art history and studio arts programs currently in the Fine Arts Building, a structure built in 1977 to house the departments of art and music.

The new building will integrate UALR’s Applied Design, Art History and Studio Arts classes into a facility that promotes collaboration and creativity between students, faculty and guests under one roof. Drawing/Painting/Printmaking/Art History and 2D Design and Illustration classrooms will be located on the north side of the building to make use of the large expanse of glass along 28th Street.

Faculty and administrative offices will be oriented on the south side to take advantage of the campus and natural plaza views. Photography and Graphic Design spaces will complete the programs that are housed within the visual arts track.

Students and visitors have the opportunity to experience two generous art galleries within the building showcasing both permanent and transitional exhibits or attend a guest lecturer speaking in the 80-seat lecture hall and reception venue on the ground floor.

The Applied Design spaces will be organized within a single story industrial high bay section of the building to take advantage of the expansive volumes of space necessary for Sculpture/Metalsmithing/Furniture Design /3D Craft & Fibers/Ceramics. Each of these spaces has access to an outdoor studio space that allows work on large pieces with natural ventilation and sunlight.

The building will be designed to achieve a LEED Silver rating with the USGBC LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Art/Applied Design track, a unique program in Arkansas, primarily serves students interested in the study of traditional arts and crafts representative of the South Central region of the U.S., with particular emphasis upon craft practices within Arkansas.

“The vision of the Department of Art is to be a destination center for students intent on pursuing lifelong careers in the visual arts,” said department chair Tom Clifton. “This new facility will enable the department to embrace traditional, contemporary, and technological approaches to the visual arts in central Arkansas and provide opportunities for students throughout the southern region of the United States.

The Windgate Charitable Foundation has provided consistent and visionary support of the UALR Department of Art through scholarships, program support, visiting artists, workshops and gallery exhibitions.

Heritage Month – Choctaw Station

Choctaw StationForty years ago today, on May 6, 1975, Little Rock’s Choctaw Route Station was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

This turn-of-the-century railroad depot is one of the finest examples of railroad, architecture in Arkansas.  This red brick with terra cotta elements building is a two story rectangular structure with one story wings projecting from both the north and south elevations.  A long one story porch covers the passenger loading area along the entire east elevation, with a smaller porch over the entry on the west elevation.

The Choctaw Route Station was built between 1899 and 1901 (records vary) by the Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad.  This railroad amalgamated with many small lines in Oklahoma and extended into Arkansas in the early 1890’s.  Used as a passenger station, the Little Rock terminal building housed two waiting rooms, a baggage room, restaurant and dining room.

When the Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad was sold in 1902, the Choctaw Route Station became the property of the Rock Island Railroad.  Until the mid 1950’s it continued to serve as a passenger station for the Rock Island.  It later served as a warehouse, restaurant and nightclub.

Since 2004, it has been the home to the Clinton School for Public Service as well as Clinton Foundation offices.  Restoration was underwritten by the Roy and Christine Sturgis Foundation. In recognition of this, it is now known as Sturgis Hall.  Former Clinton School Dean David Pryor referred to it as “the little red school house.”

On Earth Day (April 22, 2015), it was announced that Sturgis Hall had received Gold LEED certification from the US Green Building Council.  In August 2009, the Clinton School received a stimulus grant from Governor Mike Beebe to implement sustainable and maintenance practices for reducing the environmental impact of the building. Utility bills costs have already been lowered by $38,000 annually and water usage has been significantly curtailed.

This designation made it the oldest building in Arkansas to be LEED certified and one of the oldest university buildings in the world.  The LEED certification had been a goal of Clinton School Dean Skip Rutherford and Clinton Foundation Executive Director Stephanie Streett.

Read and LEED – Two CALS library branches have received LEED Green Building Certification

Two Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) branches have been awarded prestigious LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute (CBGI). The first LEED certified project for CALS, Oley E. Rooker Library has been certified LEED Silver, and Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library & Learning Center has been certified LEED Gold.

LEED is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. In the central Arkansas area, Rooker Library is one of only nine LEED Silver projects, and the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library & Learning Center is one of only ten LEED Gold projects.

OLEY ROOKER LIBRARY (photo courtesy of CALS)

OLEY ROOKER LIBRARY (photo courtesy of CALS)

A building’s structure, access, and personality reflect the materials and design that went into its construction. CALS strives to show its respect for the history of our community and for its natural resources in its building design and choice of materials. With CALS’ commitment to sustainable building techniques or adaptable reuse of existing facilities in mind, Allison Architects designed the Rooker Library and James H. Cone, Inc. served as general contractor. Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects managed the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library & Learning Center design and East-Harding Construction provided construction services.

The Rooker Library and Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library & Learning Center achieved LEED certification for energy use, lights, water, and material use as well as incorporating a variety of other sustainable strategies. By using less energy and water, LEED certified buildings save money for families, businesses, and taxpayers; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers, and the larger community.

LEED certification of the libraries was based on a number of green design and construction features including:

  • Geothermal heating and cooling systems and high performance building envelopes which reduce the energy needed to maintain the buildings
  • High performance glazing with sunscreens which allow for abundant daylight
  • Deep roof overhang with fritted glass filtering system
  • Maximizing open space on the site
  • Use of local materials, rapidly renewable materials, and materials with recycled content
  • Bioswale and open-grid paving
  • Use of mature tree to provide natural shade
  • Water management system including a butterfly roof and wetland for water efficient landscaping, with native plants to help break down pollutants
  • Bicycle storage on site
  • Low flow water fixtures
  • Construction practices which include reducing construction site waste, preventing pollution from erosion, and managing the building to limit air contamination

 

Oley E. Rooker Library

The $5 million, 13,450 square-foot Rooker Library includes sustainable features such as a geothermal HVAC system and cork or linoleum flooring throughout, and building materials include copper and Arkansas sandstone. Amenities at the library include public meeting rooms, smaller study rooms, and public access computers. Exterior features include a reflecting pool with three sculpture otters and a pavilion that can be used for library and community functions.

Funding for the Rooker Library was made available by Little Rock voters’ approval of a bond issue in 2004.

 

Hillary Clinton Children' s Library and Learning Center (photo courtesy of Polk Stanley Wilcox)

Hillary Clinton Children’ s Library and Learning Center (photo courtesy of Polk Stanley Wilcox)

Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library & Learning Center

Set on a six-acre site, the $12 million, 30,000 square foot Children’s Library includes a computer lab with fourteen computers, teaching kitchen, large activity area, individual and group study rooms, theater, and community room in addition to a collection of more than 21,000 books, DVDs, and CDs.

In 2007, Little Rock voters approved a bond issue to provide funding for the Children’s Library.

The Children’s Library’s grounds are integral to the entire facility’s program. A greenhouse and teaching garden help children learn about growing healthy foods as well as provide produce that will be used in the teaching kitchen programs. The grounds reflect the topography of Arkansas’s ecosystems, from the native hardwood trees in the highlands to vegetation of the wetland areas, which are both planted and original to the site. Walking paths offer families an attractive place for exercise while learning the names of the trees and plants, and an amphitheater has seating for outdoor programs or nature watching.