University of Montevallo to get new art building

Published 2:33 pm Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A rendering of the University of Montevallo's proposed art building.

A rendering of the University of Montevallo’s proposed art building.


By GRACE THORNTON/For the Reporter

A new art building at the University of Montevallo will soon enhance what’s been beautiful about the campus for more than a century and provide space for what makes UM distinctive, said president John W. Stewart III.

“Our art building should live up to the level of talent on campus. Our students deserve this space, and so do the faculty,” Stewart said.

UM’s art department boasts nearly 300 students, “a large number for a university this size,” said Scott Stephens, interim dean of the college of fine arts.

The current 3D complex — which contains a theater building and an art building — was “cramped out” with the growing art enrollment, Stephens said.

Staff and faculty knew the facility belonging to the arts needed major renovations, but when they began to make preparations, they discovered the building had structural flaws needing immediate attention, he said.

“We knew at that point the best option was to take it down and switch from renovating the art building to building a new structure,” Stephens said.

The current building was built for a different purpose then converted to art space later, but the new building will be designed for and devoted to art, he said. “It’s an opportunity to start from scratch.”

Thanks to funds from a bond issue dedicated last year to improvements on campus, the current building will be razed by the fall, with construction beginning soon after on the same spot.

“We hope it will be completed in the spring in time for use in fall 2014,” Stephens said, noting that it will be the only new building paid for by the bond issue.

A gift from UM alumni Conrad and Barbara Blackerby will provide equipment for the new art building.

“All of these improvements together will provide better space for ceramics, taller ceilings, new wood shops and better teaching space,” Stephens said. “We are excited. Everyone is aware of the great potential.”

For more information about UM’s art program, visit