CC awarded $4 million from Inasmuch foundation

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Colorado College has received a $4 million grant to help fund the Cornerstone Arts Building, a 74,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art performing arts building that honors and reaffirms the college’s commitment to the arts.

“The new arts building has been a dream of the college community for several years and represents a key piece of our vision for CC 2010,” said Colorado College President Richard F. Celeste. “This grant helps us build momentum, begun several years ago with efforts to launch the Cornerstone Arts Building.”

The grant was made by the Inasmuch, which is based in Oklahoma and was established in 1982 by the late Edith Kinney Gaylord to support charitable and educational projects. Gaylord attended Colorado College as a member of the class of 1936 and served as a trustee for 24 years. Her father, E.K. Gaylord, was a member of the class of 1897 and was a long-time trustee.

“This building will make it possible to establish a new style of arts teaching,” said Professor Tom Lindblade, chairman of the Colorado College drama department. “It will create opportunities for students to connect the arts through technology and performance. We truly believe that the Inasmuch Foundation’s gift will help us make CC the leader in arts teaching among liberal arts colleges throughout the country.”

Lindblade said that the building will provide a coalescing of space for arts study, which is now spread throughout the campus in nine separate buildings. “This is going to be an arts factory for the students,” he said. “It will make arts education up to date. (Students) will be able to utilize the newest technology and collaborative techniques.”

He also said that the project should help to attract students. “They’re sexy buildings,” he said. “There are no other buildings like this in the country, at least in the liberal arts college ranks.”

The Cornerstone Arts Building will provide a full range of arts opportunities to students and faculty, encouraging interdisciplinary study, collaboration and experimentation, and providing cutting-edge arts technology, and flexible classroom and performance spaces. It will also strengthen the college’s long-term relationship with the Colorado Springs community and enhance its role as a cultural beacon in the region and across the country.

“There will be spaces in this building that will draw community interest and will accommodate the community,” said Steve Elder, the college’s vice president for advancement. “Art will flow out from this building into the community. It will be a source of inspiration and artistic action into the community. The idea is to create a lot of activity.”

Lindblade echoed those thoughts. “This is hugely important for the community,” he said. “It will be a hive of activity for the whole city. It creates more of an ability for Colorado College & to reach out to the whole city. We free up our arts community to breathe.”

The building, which is expected to cost about $30 million, will be on the southeast corner of Cascade Avenue and Cache La Poudre Street, directly across from Packard Hall. Renowned New Mexico architect Antoine Predock created the building’s initial schematic designs. The executive architectural firm is Denver-based Anderson Mason Dale PC.

The Inasmuch grant is the largest grant the college has received for the project, bringing the total contributions pledged to date to approximately $10 million. Elder said that while a starting date for construction has not been set, the college has committed to building the building.

“It certainly makes a statement,” he said. “It’s going to be a talked about building. The bottom line is that it makes a commitment to our students and our faculty.”