GREENSBORO — UNCG has taken another step toward making a new cultural arts building a reality.
University trustees on Thursday approved spending $600,000 to begin planning a new building on West Gate City Boulevard at South Tate Street.
This facility — which the university is calling the Arts Place at Tate & Gate — should be the first new building inside UNCG’s millennial campus districts. It also will give the university a prominent new structure at one of the main entrances to campus.
“We think this is a wonderful opportunity for community engagement for our students and the visual and performing arts and for the faculty,” Chancellor Frank Gilliam said Thursday. “We just think this will really ignite the millennial campus.”
Arts Place will have about 20,000 square feet over two floors with parking underneath, according to documents reviewed this week by trustees.
Inside, there will be a multipurpose room for lectures and performances, an art gallery, instructional and practice spaces, conference rooms and maybe a cafe. Outside, there might be an amphitheater or an outdoor classroom.
Gilliam said he wants the side of the building facing Gate City Boulevard to be mostly glass so passersby can see what’s happening inside.
The planning process — deciding on the building’s details and drawing up blueprints — will take about a year. Construction isn’t scheduled to begin until late 2022. UNCG hopes to open the building in mid-2024.
To make room for the new building, UNCG plans to tear down 842 W. Gate City Blvd., a three-storefront retail space that dates back to the 1960s. UNCG has owned the building since 2010. It’s currently used by UNCG’s archaeology and interior architecture programs.
The university estimates the project will cost about $10.3 million. It’s using institutional trust funds to cover the planning costs.
UNCG hasn’t yet said how it plans to pay for construction. But trustees at a committee meeting Tuesday said the project might be a part of the university’s upcoming fundraising campaign. Gilliam said he has been talking about naming rights to a potential donor he didn’t identify.
Gilliam said Arts Place will serve multiple purposes for the university. It will be a new and flexible performance space for UNCG’s visual and performing arts programs. It also will be a so-called bonfire project, something that could spark development elsewhere on UNCG’s millennial campus.
UNCG in 2017 established on its campus two millennial campus districts — one for the arts and one for health and wellness — within its existing campus. These designated districts enable the university to work with private entities to develop new buildings and programs.
In addition, Arts Place will serve as the entryway to the university’s arts district, which runs along Tate Street and includes UNCG Auditorium, the Weatherspoon Art Museum, the Taylor Theatre, the Music Building and other arts-themed facilities.
And it will be what Gilliam called a “third space,” where the campus and community can come together in what he said could be mutually beneficial ways.
“We’re really excited that this has some potential,” Gilliam told trustees.
Other news and notes from UNCG’s trustees meetings this week:
Trustees agreed to spend $350,000 to start planning for renovations of Taylor Theatre on campus. The university said the $5 million project will replace the building’s electrical, plumbing, fire alarm, heating and cooling and other systems in the building, which opened in 1967.
The university also plans to improve building access for disabled persons and hopes to upgrade the theater’s tension grids, performance rigging and fire curtain. Construction on this two-year renovation project isn’t expected to begin until 2022.
UNCG said it gave out 1,739 COVID-19 vaccines last week during the first week of its vaccination clinic. It plans to administer another 1,000 doses this week.
UNCG’s clinic is open only to employees of higher education institutions in Guilford County. Eligible persons also include students employed by colleges and universities in the county.
Contact John Newsom at (336) 373-7312 and follow @JohnNewsomNR on Twitter.