Five years ago, Brooks made a concerted effort to develop the theater, music and visual arts
programs, elevating them to be a vibrant and valuable major discipline within a Brooks
education. As the programs developed, Brooks added faculty and classes, new requirements and a tiered approach to advanced learning in the arts.
As a result of the expanded programs, a new obstacle arose — finding facilities to house the programs now while planning for future expansion, 100 years or so down the road. The new Center for the Arts addresses those needs, provides breathing space for the programs and some spaces we didn’t have before, such as additional visual art studios, classroom space and ensemble rooms.
Construction is proceeding on schedule, with some exciting developments happening in the last month. Most notably, steel (including the west and east basement stairs) was delivered to campus as the first classes got underway, closely followed by the delivery of large portions of what will be the building’s air ducts. The first beams of steel were added to the west basement structure, as the east basement’s concrete walls were setting. By the last week of September taller slabs of concrete walls had been poured, the first signs of the main street facade of the building. Other less noticeable but equally important steps are happening in the process including waterproofing the foundation and backfilling the basement walls with soil reserved from the initial excavation of the site. We also installed underground plumbing, electrical and drainage. In trenches by the foundation, passersby can see steam lines exiting the new structure and connecting to the admission and head of school offices.
While construction continues, the classroom experience for the current school year has been
approached from a creative direction, as Chair of the Arts Department Robert Lazar explains,
“This is not the year without a building; it is the year we’re doing cool and interesting work.”
Theater and music students will have an opportunity to experience working in various different
spaces off-campus and in the community. While visual arts classes will focus on the natural
beauty of the world around us, leveraging our campus’ incredible landscape and working out of
unique spaces, such as the boathouse. As a community, Brooks has found suitable places for
each of the classes displaced by construction and finding creative ways to adapt.