by ROSEMARIE BINGHAM '18
Things are buzzing around SUA. We have already completed a quarter of the year, seniors are finishing up college applications, and of course, construction is everywhere! Although it is exciting to see what will come out of the new renovations, there is one change that seems to leave a hole in the heart of our campus. Students are sad that they will soon have to leave behind the unique FAB building for the old East/West conference rooms. In light of the upcoming changes, I talked to art teacher Mr. Kurt Nicaise to get more information on the move, as well as to explore his thoughts on the process.
There has been a misconception floating around saying that SUA is selling the building. However, the FAB building is not getting torn down, sold, or anything of that sort. Saint Ursula Academy will continue to own the building; it will be used for more social purposes rather than educational ones. The new art and design classrooms will be moved into the East/West Conference rooms, which are also undergoing construction right now. Mr. Nicaise says that, once finished, this new space will look significantly different than before. There will be a completely new entrance and exit pattern, and the arched brick dividing wall will be partially removed, allowing for more moving space. There is an old kitchen in the back of the new art room that will be transformed into ceramic and sculpture stations. A large section of computers will also be added in the room in effort to incorporate graphic design.
While students may be upset about losing FAB, these changes are much needed. Mr. Nicaise says that in one way it is good that the building will not be a classroom for much longer. With the beauty of the building comes many problems that won’t be present in the new space. The biggest complication with FAB is the lack of storage space. There is little room to store artwork and supplies, causing a crowded art room. Thus, there is little room for to show what the students have been working on all year. One of the things Mr. Nicaise is most excited about is being able to display the students’ artwork in East/West. This way, parents, teachers, peers, or even prospective bulldogs can catch a glimpse of creativity as they walk through the halls. Another problem is that, due to the lack of space, there is not a lot of space to move around. This makes it harder for students to move around with their art, or get up to get more materials, etc. In the new art room, there will be a lot more moving space.
In general, Mr. Nicaise sympathizes with students dispirited by the move. “There’s some sadness about leaving this building. It’s a cool building, it has interesting architecture and interesting spaces...I am sad we won’t be using it anymore, but it’s not a space that’s supposed to be laid out to be a classroom.” He said he understands why people are apprehensive about leaving the building. “Students like coming to FAB because it’s different and unique.” However, he still wants everyone to keep an open mind about the new art room. Mr. Nicaise concludes, “I want the students to cherish the new space as much as they love the FAB building.” FAB will be missed, but never forgotten.