Conversion of one of two dance studios postponed until Fall 2015 semester

Dance students celebrated Thursday upon notification that the conversion of the dance studio in the Fine Arts Building room 203 would be postponed until the Fall 2015 semester.

Daniel Bernardi, interim dean of the college of liberal and creative arts, informed the program in an email to faculty and students that the college would hold off on its plans to convert the studio into a museum.

In October, dance students were notified that they would be losing one of two dance studio spaces for the Spring 2015 semester, and would have to use McKenna Theater until a dedicated space was found.

The administration was under the impression that the theater would be a suitable temporary space, but students disagreed. This sparked a month-long discussion between students and Bernardi, which culminated in a flash mob and town hall meeting in early November.

“The postponement is a relief and a reassurance that our administration at least knows we take our education very seriously,” said Matthew McKines, a dance student who took on a leadership role in the organization of his peers. “There are still details to be worked out, but we are very proud of ourselves for having at least gotten the gears to move! Our focus can now be returned to our studies and finishing the semester successfully.”

Bernardi decided to postpone the studio to museum conversion after taking into consideration students concerns about uneven floors and low temperatures in the theater.

“In follow-up meetings with all dance faculty it became quite clear that McKenna was not going to work,” Bernardi said. “Student safety is first. It was an easy decision to make, supported by both the President and provost. We can wait a semester to turn FA 203 into the University museum.”

In the email, Bernardi said to students that a second studio, which Bernardi hopes to identify by Spring 2015, will meet safety and instructional needs.  Another town hall meeting will also be planned some time in the early part of the spring semester to give an update on the progress that is being made.

“I’m really happy that our voices were not only heard but respected and valued enough to allow us to keep FA (203),” said dance student Meagan Wells. “Our needs are being met and that’s all we wanted.”

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