FAC renovations paint art majors into Pastore Hall

Fine Arts classes set to move to Pastore Hall next Fall, as renovations continue in the Fine Arts Center. PHOTO CREDIT: Melissa Marchese

During the fall 2022 semester, fine arts classes will be moved to Pastore Hall while the Fine Arts Center (FAC) undergoes renovations. 

The FAC has completed phase one of construction, which included renovating parts of both the exterior and interior of the building. Phase two was voted on and approved in a state-wide referendum earlier this year, meaning the removal of pods in the building can start in May 2022. 

According to Katherine Kittredge, associate director of campus design for the office of Planning and Real Estate Development at URI, the plan is to have the Fine Arts Complex completely empty for the summers of 2022 and 2023. 

During the school year, the theatre and music departments will have minor changes in locations but will remain in the FAC. The art department will undergo the biggest move, with the entire department moving to Pastore Hall for the next two years starting in the fall.

“[The demolition] gives more of an open green space in the future,” Kittredge said. “It’s envisioned that this could be an outdoor area… [at first] it’ll just be like a grass area, but sometime in the future, they would like this to be an outdoor event space.”

The building that will temporarily house the art department, Pastore Hall, was once the chemistry building, and more recently held classes for engineering students during the construction of the Fascitelli Center for Advanced Engineering. Currently, much of the building is unoccupied.

Schane Tallardy, a manager for construction projects in the Office of Capital Projects, said that the main thing they are working towards now is getting the classrooms in Pastore Hall ready for the art department’s move.

Kittredge doesn’t anticipate students and faculty being upset by the move, citing the ‘nice’ classrooms with big, open windows. She said if students or faculty had a classroom in the FAC, they will have a classroom in Pastore, and no one is losing any square footage.

“The key thing is that when we move the art students into Pastore, we’re not displacing anybody else to move them in, that these spaces that are unoccupied now and that we always true to have kind of, you know, a backup of space so that we can move programs when we need to,” Tallardy said.

So far, there have been no concerns from faculty or students about the displacement, according to Kittredge. 

“They have given us their scope, that is their list of needs and then their list of wants, and it’s a requirement that we provide all of the needs for them,” she said. “So if there’s any equipment that’s not being moved over, it’s because professors didn’t ask for it.”

Tallardy said that they don’t want to alter the quality of the programs here at the University.

“Our biggest piece is making sure that the program that we deliver to the students isn’t affected,” Tallardy said.

Although the plan is to ensure that the impacts to the programs are minimal, there are backup plans in place in case and alternate locations that can be used to provide students with the education they are paying for.

“Hopefully people will be happy in the end because it’s exciting,” Kittredge said. “We need this eyesore to be cleaned up.”