State-of-the-art-building to replace a CU landmark
The Sibell Wolle Fine Arts building, which has stood on the CU campus for nearly a century, was reduced to a pile of bricks and debris on Jan. 4.
A new building, named the Visual Arts Complex, will fill the vacant lot where Sibell Wolle once stood.
Micah Abram, the fundraising and development director for the Visual Arts Complex, said that Sibell Wolle was torn down due to a presence of asbestos and improper ventilation as a result of the building’s age.
“Sibell Wolle was simply an out-of-date building that was not fit for proper use,” Abram said.
Even though the debris of Sibell Wolle was supposed to be completely cleared out last week, Abram said that everything is still moving on schedule.
“It’s looking great,” Abram said, “Everything is moving along as planned.”
Bronson Hilliard, director of media relations for CU, said the Visual Arts Complex is expected to be a significant improvement over the Sibell Wolle building.
“The new building is a huge advantage in a number of ways,” Hilliard said. “It is a state-of-the-art facility that will provide accommodations such as expanded space.”
Hilliard said the construction of the Visual Arts Complex will compliment its neighbor, the ATLAS building, which opened in the fall of 2006.
“There will be great synergy created between this new building and the adjacent ATLAS building,” Hilliard said.
Abram said that another reason for Sibell Wolle’s closure was because of the small size of the building, which limited the space available for features such as the CU Art Museum. Abram said that the Visual Arts Complex will contain a decently-sized art museum, which will be able to accommodate CU’s permanent art collection.
“CU has an impressive collection of art, but (Sibell Wolle) never had enough room to display it,” Abram said, “The Visual Art Complex will have a nice east side dedicated to this permanent collection.”
The current plans for the Visual Art Complex are met with optimism by several faculty members.
“The new art complex will be a nice turnaround,” said Misuhng Suh, a current foundations and ceramic instructor. “There will be a better facility with great additions and basically more room.”
Currently, art classes are being held at the Fleming Law building, which has had the interior altered in order to accommodate for various art classes. Yet, students find the temporary building less than adequate.
“We are in a law building that is not set up for a studio setting,” said Tamra Hirsch, a sophomore pre-journalism and studio arts major.
The Fleming Law Building does not have all the resources to accommodate for every major. For instance, the building does not have a kiln for ceramics. All students who enroll in a ceramics course must take the class at a studio located at 3381 Marine Street.
While the Visual Arts Complex is to be a noteworthy advancement over the old art building, Abram said that it is sad to see near-century old building be destroyed.
“It is kind of sad to see (Sibell Wolle) go,” Abram said. “But there is a silver lining around the cloud with this new building.”
Hilliard said he agreed that Sibell Wolle’s demolition is heart-wrenching; after all, the building had a lot of personality. However, he also said that it is inevitable and necessary for changes to be made on campus.
“It’s totally natural to mourn the loss of such a CU landmark,” Hilliard said. “But we must remember that the campus is a living entity that is constantly changing and expanding.”
According to a recent press release, the Visual Arts Complex is expected to project a $63.5 million cost, with funding being generated by student fees, state and university funds and private gifts. The new building is expected to be finished by spring of 2009.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Sara Fossum at firstname.lastname@example.org.