Construction of the $3 million Charles W. Lamar Studio Gallery at Pensacola State College is on schedule to open this coming spring.
David Barton, project manager with the Morette Company, said the 10,000-square-foot addition to the Anna Lamar Switzer Center for Visual Arts should be completed by March or April. The Morette Company is the general contractor on the project.
“The facility is in the red-iron phrase, exterior walls will start going up soon,” Barton said. “Work on the roofing also has started and we should begin the inside work – electrical and plumbing – in the next several days.”
Ground was broken on the facility on Nov. 13, 2015. In 2014, the Lamar, Reilly and Switzer families donated $1 million to serve as seed money for the construction of the facility. The remaining $2 million came from Pensacola State’s capital project funds.
“When I drive onto campus, I always glance over at the new studio construction site,” said Pensacola State President Ed Meadows. “It is really amazing to watch the facility grow day-by-day. Next year this time, the facility will be showcasing the works of renowned artists.
“And since the facility will be an ‘accreditable art gallery,’ we will be able to attract more national artists to the college and expose more visitors to this wonderful state-of-the-art gallery as well as the rest of our campus.”
Krist Lien, chairman of the Pensacola State’s visual arts department, said the college’s arts program has grown by leaps and bounds since the Anna Lamar Switzer Center was built in 1970.
“We are really excited about the new studio gallery. The extra space the facility offers will enable us to expand,” he said. “It will have a 200-seat lecture hall, so we’ll be able to bring more public speakers to our campus.”
The old lecture hall in Anna Lamar Switzer Center will be converted into another studio for students, he added.
An exhibition is already scheduled for the new studio gallery’s soft opening. A portion of the college’s permanent art collection will be exhibited in the gallery.
“The exhibition will be made up of pieces that we’ve collected since the 1970s from visiting artists,” said Vivian Spencer, director of the Visual Arts Gallery. “We can’t display all of the art work that we’ve collected over the years but the new facility will be home to a portion of the more than 500 pieces we have.”
The Anna Lamar Switzer Center is already home to the college’s visual arts department, the Gallery and state-of-the-art studios for ceramics, jewelry, drawing, painting, sculpture, photography and graphic design.