BY COURTENEY HANDY
The new Performing Arts and Fitness Center, scheduled to open Jan. 2, 2018, will be a multi-purpose facility, housing both the fitness center and gym, along with the performing arts program. Open House was held Nov. 6, revealing the building to the public.
IAIA’s new Performing Arts and Fitness Center gives students a better fitness facility, performing arts programs, and a chance for students to play sports, workout, and improve their fitness regimes, said Sheila Rocha, department chair of performing arts and JoAnn Bishop, the health, wellness, and fitness director.
A Construction Update on the IAIA website provides the following details:
”¢ The performing arts learning spaces will include dance studios with sprung flooring (a shock absorbing product), a costume shop, rehearsal space, a green room, and an art black box theater with configurable audience seating, allowing audience participation in performances.
”¢ The fitness area will include a full gymnasium with a capacity of over 300 spectators, and a new cardio and weightlifting equipment, and separate locker rooms.
The Performance Center
(Photo Courtesy of Flyingshoestudio.blogspot)
Rocha sees this building as an enhancement to the performing arts programs of fine arts, curriculum, and practicums, leading to the next step to create a bachelor of fine arts degree in performing arts.
The new facility adds a much-needed venue for performing arts students to act, perform, direct, and practice their craft, Rocha said. Before this building, IAIA students had to go out into the community to host their performances as there was no major space on campus for students to perform.
“Via the arts, we need to prepare students to become leaders for change in their communities,” Rocha said. “We must prepare them to facilitate creative performative expression in school and community residencies, rehab programs, and penal and juvenile detention centers””anywhere the arts are needed.”
The Fitness Center
Bishop said that the new building will allow her to expand on fitness programs, and general community improvements like replacing worn out and outdated fitness machines with new equipment to benefit the health and well-being at IAIA.
New Gym (Photo Courtesy of the IAIA Website)
The gym will host not only sporting events, but classes, powwows, and even graduation ceremonies.
“There may even be possibilities for future considerations for intercollegiate sports such as basketball, volleyball, badminton, and any other sport that students desire at even the club level,” Bishop said.
Both Bishop and Rocha agree that although the space will be shared, conflicts of scheduling performances and sports may arise.
“We will need to work collaboratively with one another to not collide. We will work through it,” Bishop said.
The Future of the Old Building
The old Fitness Center
The old fitness center facility on the IAIA campus has many possible uses in store for it. “Student Life hopes to renovate the building into a student union for the commuting population,” Bishop said. “The cinematic program also hopes to convert the facility into other classrooms for their program.”
“We want to be viewed as a community resource and a community asset, and this (the new building) will be a giant leap forward in that regard,” IAIA President Robert Martin said.