Ground broken for Taylor II

Photo Credit: Dan Reidel
Chico State administrators, along with A.S. President Taylor Herren, State Sen. Jim Nielsen and architect Bryan Shiles break ground for the new Arts and Humanities Building, scheduled to be completed in early 2016.

Golden shovels broke ground for the new Arts and Humanities Building at Chico State during a ceremony Tuesday afternoon.

The $58.4 million building has been in the planning stages since 2010 but due to a lack of state funding, many of the California State University system’s capital projects were put on hold, including the building.

The building will include a 200 seat recital hall, 1,500 square foot recording arts studio and 61,000 square feet for classrooms, labs, studios and galleries.

Construction will begin this month and the building should be completed in the fall of 2016, said Joe Wills, director of public affairs and publications.

“It does reflect in variety of ways the beauty of this campus, it will have brick, it will have a tower feature,” President Paul Zingg said in a brief speech during the groundbreaking ceremony. “I wanted it to add to the skyline that we have.”

The mural on Taylor Hall will be no more as the building will be demolished. However its creator, John Pugh, has offered to repaint it for the new building. There was also mention of having Picasso’s Guernica along Second Street.

“These kinds of projects are not for now, but for the future,” said Senator Jim Nielsen.

Belle Wei, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, addressed the crowd, saying she is proud that Chico State is using its resources to support the arts and humanities during a time that their value is being debated. The building will give the students a “new creative space to create, debate and collaborate.”

“It means so much to us as a campus that time and resources are going into a building for arts and humanities,” said Associated Students President Taylor Herren.

Theater students dressed up in several costumes throughout the ceremony and reception, including costumes from the Bidwell-era.

Dressed up in the period costumes and walking around in character, student Veronica Hodur said she’s excited that there will be more rooms for theater students to practice in.

“It’s hard to anticipate what we will need,” said David Barta, a foundry and shop technician for the arts and humanities department. “It would have been nice to not split the art department and have it in one building. It’s going to be a great asset to the students and in turn the university.”

Jessie Severin can be reached at [email protected] or @jmseverin on Twitter