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PROVO — A new arts center is coming to Utah County.
The board of trustees at Brigham Young University has approved plans to rebuild the Harris Fine Arts Center on the current site of the main building housing the College of Fine Arts and Communications on the Provo campus.
Construction on the project, which will be overseen by Salt Lake City-based Big D Construction and Dallas-headquartered HKS Architects, is set to begin during the first quarter of 2023, immediately following the completion of the campus' new music building and ensuing demolition of the current Harris Fine Arts Center.
The university anticipates the project to be completed by the end of 2025.
The new building will house most of the departments in the college, as well as art, design and theater and media arts, while also hosting academic spaces, galleries, performance venues, media viewing rooms, a cinema and a production studio, according to a university release. Occupants of the university's School of Music will move to the new music building currently being constructed nearby on campus.
"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, in a prepared statement. "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."
In addition to a new combined front lobby, office space and the above new host spaces, the university will also install a new six-station lactation room in the building to accommodate students and their families, as well as patrons of the venue.
The college will be temporarily relocated to the old Provo High building on University Avenue during construction. That's become common practice for the university since BYU purchased the 25-acre property from the Provo School District for $25 million in 2016, helping the district relocate the high school to its current location on Lakeshore Drive on Provo's west side.
Plenty of speculation has arisen over the long-term use of the property in the ensuing six years, but BYU has never revealed a specific use other than to house temporary office and classroom space. The current site includes the old Provo High property, including a basketball gym that most recently became a mass vaccination site during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a $3.2 million artificial turf football and soccer stadium and newly refurbished track.
The property is currently home to the relocated School of Music during current construction, and houses several schools and colleges to accommodate other construction projects on campus.
Dedicated in 1965, the current Harris Fine Arts Center houses four of the college's six academic programs. In addition to the school of music entering its own building in late 2022, much of the school of communications is housed on campus in the George H. Brimhall Building.