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Years Long Renovation of Meadows School of the Arts Completed


Meadows School of the Arts | Image by Southern Methodist University

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Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University recently completed extensive construction that began in 2019.

On September 16, a celebration and ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the school, SMU Daily Campus reported. This is the first time the building has been renovated since the 60s.

The construction was started in order to create more open entrances and make improvements to the northern wing. It was funded with a $34 million initiative from SMU and various donors.

Meadows Dean Sam Holland shared that the process was a “nightmare” due to delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, bad weather, and supply chain issues. The length of construction was difficult for students studying in the building.

Students had to study in the building while renovations were ongoing, according to Holland, but they had no other spaces to use.

“To move the Cox school [of business] out, they just need classrooms. But we would need studios and concert halls and galleries,” he told SMU Daily Campus.

Theatre studies major Lauren Secrest said it was a difficult time for her.

She explained, “It was a frustration because it felt like art went on the back burner. It’s been so long since I’ve been in the Garson theater.”

This theater was the only performing arts space to be renovated during construction and will open next semester.

During construction, students could only use one entrance into the building, and many had to walk on the street to get to their classes, SMU Daily Campus reported.

Secrest shared that the entrance to the building now makes it feel like an art school.

“I am finally able to have that Meadows experience when I walk through the front doors. It was hard to have Meadows’ pride when that blue wall was up,” she said.

The Meadow School of the Arts has new promenades and plazas leading into a Grand Atrium, SMU Daily Campus shares. Students can enjoy an Italian chandelier, modern spaces, new galleries, and new tech classrooms.

Another SMU student, freshman music major Alexandra Lahiri, shared excitement over getting to use the new building and its new spaces.

“I like having a new building and knowing that I am now in a space with more advancements,” Lahiri said.

While the renovations made modern updates and advancements to the school, they were also necessary to address many problems in the building itself, according to Dean Holland.

The building structure was made more stable, and mold and asbestos were removed. Holland explained that it was not the proper environment for the students.

“We were in an aging and deteriorating facility that just wasn’t providing the environment and tools for the artists, makers, and creators,” he said.

There are plans for more renovations to be made to the performing arts section of the school in the next three to five years, SMU Daily Campus reported.

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