Rockford Valley College May Axe Booth Hansen / Jeanne Gang Project

Midwest
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
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A plan for Rock Valley College's unbuilt Arts Instructional Center. (Courtesy Booth Hansen)

A plan for Rock Valley College’s unbuilt Arts Instructional Center. (Courtesy Booth Hansen)

A push to consolidate art classrooms and performance venues on the campus of a prominent Rockford, Illinois college seems to have hit the doldrums, as Rock Valley College (RVC) administrators shake up priorities and pull back the budget. The Rockford Register Star reported RVC’s new arts instructional center, which received plans from Booth Hansen and Jeanne Gang, may get the axe.

RVC faculty originally envisioned a campus arts center 13 years ago, but things have changed. Most notably their finances and administrative leadership. The college has already spent $3 million on plans sketched by Booth Hansen and Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang Architects. But now they are considering abandoning the concept altogether, instead scattering art classrooms and performance facilities across campus and throughout renovated existing buildings. It is possible, however, future plans will still include the high-profile Chicago architects.

The Rockford Register Star quotes two opposing voices on the situation:

“No one has proven to me that a name attached to the design brings enough cachet to justify the return on investment,” [RVC Board Chairman Michael Dunn, Jr.] said. “The culture argument is not about who designed the building. It’s about what’s in it.”

Director of the Rockford Area Arts Council Anne O’Keefe had a different take:

“Jeanne Gang is going to be the Frank Lloyd Wright of our generation,” O’Keefe said. “I’d just hate to lose this opportunity and look back in 20 years and say oh, we let that one get away.”

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