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Music and theater to lose temporary trailers

BY TESSA McLEAN | APRIL 22, 2009 7:26 AM

Twenty-two beige trailers filling the parking lot near Hancher Auditorium will disappear this summer.

The mobile trailers have provided temporary space for music and theater programs once housed in the Voxman Music Building and Clapp Recital Hall that were displaced by the June 2008 flood. The trailers can’t remain in the location because the lot is in the floodplain, UI spokeswoman Linda Kettner said.

The trailers, provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, need to be moved by August.

Operations conducted by the theater department in the trailers will move to the site of an old fraternity house on River Street. The house is a mere three-minute walk up the hill from the Theatre Building.

Alan MacVey, the director of the theater department, said the fraternity is undergoing extensive renovation now and should be ready for use in the fall semester.

“The trailers have been fine; if we could keep them where they are, we would,” MacVey wrote in an e-mail. “In the end, we came up with this solution — to create a new interim music facility in the [University Capitol Centre] and house most of theater’s needs in the fraternity.”

MacVey noted there will be two classrooms in the fraternity — one to hold acting classes during the day and rehearsals at night, and another as a seminar room to be used by classes in writing and academics. The rest of the rooms in the fraternity will be used as offices.

The costume shop and other storage will remain at the new Studio Arts Building in the old Menards until renovations are finished to the Theatre Building.

Music students will move from the trailers into the former Campus 3 cinema space in the University Capitol Centre.

The UI acquired the former cinema through an agreement with the UI Facilities Corp. a few years ago, and officials said the School of Music will use the space for three to four years.

Kristin Thelander, the director of the music school, said Linn Street Music and various churches have worked well as replacements this year, but they aren’t a good permanent solution because of the lack of sound isolation among the rooms.

In the former Campus 3 cinema, 44 sound-isolated rooms will be built and put together on-site by the Wenger Corp., varying from small practice spaces to large studios for rehearsals.

This fall, music-school officials plan to have space in the two Clinton Street music buildings, Trinity Episcopal Church, University Capitol Centre, the Museum of Art, the Communications Center, and Becker Communication Studies Building, Thelander said.

UI theater major Brian Quijada said he has only been in the trailers for rehearsals and meetings, never for class.

“They haven’t been a real inconvenience,” the sophomore said. “[The fraternity] could be better if it provides a bigger space.”


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