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TMA transitions to West Campus

This semester marks the first that the TMA department spends on West Campus.
What used to be Provo High School has been refurbished to house TMA for the next few years as a new fine arts building is constructed in place of the HFAC. High school classrooms, auditoriums, cafeterias, and gyms have been converted into college classrooms, workspaces, student commons, and stages. Each department made the move over the summer in order to be ready for students this past fall semester. While the move has been colossal, what it has entailed has been different for everyone.

From an administrative standpoint, the goal was for students to have an equal educational experience on West Campus to what they would have in the HFAC. Although it is sad to say goodbye to the HFAC, relocating to West Campus has provided many new opportunities. Kyle Stapley expresses how our spaces are much larger in the West Campus Central Building (WCCB), and this provides a welcome change for many of the departments who now enjoy space they’ve never had before.

One new addition that students have enjoyed is the student commons. What used to be relegated to the slab in the HFAC now has been given a big space where students can just relax together. Kyle shares, “We feel like it will bring more community and collaboration. That’s what we want with our program.” Megan Sanborn Jones shares, “The sense of community has gone up because we’re all out here together. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to round the corner and there are groups of students hanging out. I hope we keep that with us when we move back to the main campus.” Sharing the WCCB with Design and Art, TMA has also enjoyed an added camaraderie with those students. While the move comes with some difficulties, students have responded well to the new building and have enjoyed having their own place away from the business of campus.

Each department within TMA has encountered different challenges and blessings in their own experience of transitioning to West Campus.

Costume Shop Manager Jessica Cowden and three of her students spent the summer coordinating the move for the costume shop as well as the makeup classroom, costume technology classroom, and dressing rooms. Says Jessica Cowden, “It was a lot of problem solving, which is what we do in theatre all the time–just in a different frame.” She expresses that while costume storage is slightly smaller, the main shop area is more spread out and enjoys natural lighting. Her students have been very positive and are excited to work in new spaces.

The makeup department has also enjoyed a bigger classroom than what they had in the HFAC, and especially appreciates the large windows that provide a happier environment. Says Jennine Hollingshaus, “We have been really well supported. Change is hard, but we have understanding and patient students.”

The media arts department welcomes the move and is especially excited for the amount of space available to them in the WCCB. Because media arts emerged after the HFAC was already constructed, they didn’t have a dedicated and specialized space. At West Campus, they have spaces they’ve never had before–spaces that used to be consigned to the hallways and corners of the HFAC. Expressing his excitement for the new areas available, Tom Russell says, “The auditorium is terrific. It’s large and has a stage so we’ve been able to stage our scenes up there. What they’ve accomplished amazes me.”

Everyone agrees that the move has been a success. TMA Department Chair Megan Sanborn Jones shares, “The move went so smoothly. It was almost uncanny. I am in awe of the work that the shop heads did to organize, make a plan, enact it, and immediately get back up on their feet making theatre. It’s an incredible feat. And the organizational skills of Michael Kraczek and Kyle Stapley, who supervised the whole thing, are just incredible.” Kyle Stapley expresses his gratitude for Campus Moving, the shops, and student crews who all contributed to move to West Campus– “It was a monumental task. Everybody did a great job of coordinating to make this massive move happen. It’s a miracle that it has come together.”

The TMA department looks back on its time in the HFAC with fond memories, and looks forward to the construction of the new building with anticipation and excitement. The time spent at West Campus has brought and will continue to bring many lessons learned that the department will take with it into the future.