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BYU to construct new arts building — replacing Harris Fine Arts Center


PROVO, Utah — Brigham Young’s certainty in the power of music and the arts was evident when he declared that “every accomplishment, every polished grace, every useful attainment in mathematics, music and in all science and art belong to the Saints.”

The university named for the Church’s second president clearly shares that same commitment to championing “every polished grace.” 

On Monday, June 6, the Church-sponsored school announced that BYU’s board of trustees has approved plans to construct a new arts building for the College of Fine Arts and Communications. It will be built where the Harris Fine Arts Center is currently located near the center of the Provo, Utah, campus.

The new arts building will house offices for the college — as well as for the departments of art, design, and theater and media arts, according to a BYU news release

The building will also host academic spaces, galleries, performance spaces, media viewing rooms, a cinema and a production studio. The other current occupant of the HFAC — the School of Music — will move to the new music building, which is currently being constructed.

“The arts and music programs are beacons of excellence for the university,” said Shane Reese, BYU academic vice president, in the release.  “We look forward to these two new beautiful buildings, which will accentuate the amazing talents of our students, faculty and staff who work in that college.”

The arts building will house a large collaborative hub for department of design students as well as multiple art and design galleries. There will also be a combination lobby and student gathering space. 

A six-station lactation room will accommodate students and their families as well as patrons.

Computer rendering of the lobby of the future art building that will house Brigham Young University’s College of Fine Arts and Communications in Provo, Utah.

Computer rendering of the lobby of the future art building that will house Brigham Young University’s College of Fine Arts and Communications in Provo, Utah.

Credit: BYU image

“The new building will create proximity and more opportunities for collaboration and student mentoring,” said Ed Adams, dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communications. “Our faculty and staff are now spread over five floors and are located at the far ends of the Harris Fine Arts Center from each other.”

Demolition of the HFAC is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2023 following the completion of the new music building, according to the release. Construction of the new arts building will commence immediately after the demolition.

The project is expected to be completed toward the end of 2025.

Big D Construction has been selected as the general contractor for the project, with HKS Architects as the architecture firm.

The college will temporarily occupy the former Provo High School, located on University Avenue, while the new arts building is being constructed.

The HFAC was dedicated in 1965 and houses four of the college’s six academic units. The School of Music also uses the building and will move into the new music building upon its completion at the end of 2022.

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