Conservatory of Music Renovation, Expansion Creates Impressive Complex

July 1, 2011

Dramatic renovation with new construction has nearly doubled space for the Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music, making it a world-class facility for students, faculty and the community.

The 15-month, $15 million project began in July 2010. The plan includes full renovation of buildings formerly owned by the First Congregational United Church of Christ and renovation of Merner-Pfeiffer and Kulas halls.

The renovated new space and the new construction that connects it to the original Conservatory of Music has been named the Stephen and Jacquelyn Boesel Musical Arts Center in honor of the many contributions of BW trustee Stephen Boesel '68, and his wife, Jacquelyn, of Sarasota, Fla.

"BW has always had an exemplary record of preparing students for careers in the arts," said BW President Richard Durst. "Now we have facilities that match the quality of our programs. This is another step forward in providing our students with the types of experiences that enable them to have successful careers in the arts."

The four-building complex incorporates bright and open spaces designed for faculty-student and peer-to-peer interactions.Serving as the focal point for the College's South Campus Historic District, the complex offers a seamless blend of historic architecture that respects the style and historic significance of each building. In addition, it creates a "front door" to the campus for the 300-plus undergraduate Conservatory students and thousands of participants enrolled in its popular outreach programs.

Central to the design is a new four-level connector building. The connector links the church facilities to Merner-Pfeiffer and Kulas halls. A sleek and spacious lobby serves as a hub in the new building, placing visitors, students and faculty in the midst of practice and teaching areas.

Student-focused Facility Providing Outstanding Opportunities
Beyond the dramatic physical expanse and architecture of the new complex, it provides stellar learning opportunities.

Topping the list from a student point-of-view are the 50 new, soundproofed practice rooms. Also part of the enhancements are instructional space, practice studios and rehearsal halls that can accommodate the latest technologies for teaching and performance.

Among these are three new and updated rehearsal halls:

  • Fynette Kulas Music Hall, serving as both a rehearsal and recital hall.
  • Kadel Family Vocal Music Hall, offering rehearsal space for the Conservatory's five vocal ensembles. The facility was made possible by a gift from Arline Kadel '36.
  • Another area dedicated for rehearsal by percussion ensembles.

In addition, the facility includes 34 new, soundproofed faculty studios and 11 new classrooms to supplement the existing six.

The Beverlie Buck Mayer Wing of the Boesel Musical Arts Center includes 10 voice studios, two brass studios and a lounge for faculty and staff. The wing was made possible through a gift from BW trustee Beth Swailes '65, to honor her mother who graduated in 1938.

Also expanded and renovated were The Riemenschneider Bach Institute and the Jones Music Library. The Institute has one of nation's exceptional holdings of Baroque manuscripts and first editions. It attracts scholars from around the world.

Environmentally Friendly Geothermal Heating, Cooling
Committed to its leadership role in sustainability, BW has installed 54 geothermal wells for the Conservatory complex. The wells, buried 520 feet underground, will provide energy efficient heating/cooling through the use of the earth as a source of energy.

Installation of the geothermal system for the two Conservatory buildings will provide an annual energy cost savings of over $28,000 and an annual energy saving of 804 million BTU.

$500,000 grant awarded by the Ohio Department of Development as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act's State Energy program helped fund geothermal heating/cooling for two Conservatory buildings. The grant is one of only 15 Ohio projects funded. Selection was based on a competitive review process.

"As a teaching institution, we have a responsibility to our students, to the community and to future generations to be a leader in sustainability," said BW President Richard Durst. "We are committed to being educators as well as practitioners on our own campus. This grant is an affirmation of the progress we are making."

Transforming Lives Through Campaign Commitment
Funding of the Conservatory renovation and new construction was a collaborative effort filled with vision and commitment. Part of Transforming Lives: The Campaign for Baldwin Wallace University, the project brought together corporations and foundations, public initiatives, and support from thousands of BW alumni and friends.