Holy Cross plans $92M center for the arts

October 11, 2018
The College of the Holy Cross has filed plans with the city for construction of a $92 million center for the arts and creativity.

The two-level, 85,500-square-foot building is proposed for an area on the college's campus that is currently a parking lot, between the Hogan Campus Center and the Luth Athletic Complex, according to the site plan application filed with the Planning Board.

The state-of-the-art facility, intended to become the college's main venue for performing arts programs, will include a 400-seat concert hall/theater for symphonic music, chamber music, jazz, and Gamelan (music performed by traditional ensembles of Indonesia, usually incorporating bronze percussion instruments) as well as opera, musical theater and dance.

It will also have a 200-seat flexible studio space, dressing and rehearsal rooms and a media lab, as well as support space that will include a scene shop, costume shop, recording studio, lighting and set design study, and multi-use spaces to encourage collaboration among the arts.

In addition, the Cantor Art Gallery, now in O'Kane Hall, will be relocated to the new building.

Because the facility is expected to be primarily used by students and faculty, the building is not expected to result in a “material increase” in traffic on the campus or surrounding city streets, according to the application.

As part of the project, 481 parking spaces will be provided for the new building - 169 spaces to the west and 312 to the building's south and east.

Overall, there are 1,675 parking spaces on the Holy Cross campus.

The site plan application is scheduled to go before the Planning Board for review and approval at its Oct. 24 meeting.

Pending necessary approvals from the city, the project is expected to start in the spring, provided the college is able to meet fundraising goals, according to John Hill, director of media relations at Holy Cross.

Holy Cross currently uses two buildings for hosting campus arts and performance programs: Fenwick Hall, which has a seating capacity of 225, and Brooks Hall, with a seating capacity of 200.

The new building is being designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, a New York City-based design studio that integrates architecture, visual arts and the performing arts.

The firm's work includes the Brown University Creative Arts Center in Providence, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and the Broad Museum in Los Angeles.

The project had its origins in 2013 when Cornelius "Neil" B. Prior Jr., a 1956 Holy Cross graduate, donated $25 million to get the ball rolling.

In 2016, the college launched the most ambitious fundraising initiative in its history, with a goal of $400 million by 2020. One of the main priorities is raising money for the new performing arts center.
Telegram & GazetteBy Nick Kotsopoulos