On the afternoon of April 19, 2018, University leaders joined students, members of the community and campus guests near the intersection of Oak Street and University Promenade to break ground on UM’s new Center for the Arts.
While the ceremony marked the official start of construction on the new arts facility, it also represented the beginning of a larger effort to transform and upgrade Montevallo’s student experience and quality of education.
A little more than a year after breaking ground on the Center for the Arts, the University held a second groundbreaking ceremony next to Morgan Hall for the new Michael E. Stephens College of Business building.
While construction is commencing on the new business college, fundraising efforts are also under way to update and modernize math and science offerings in Harman Hall.
When the three projects are completed, they are projected to boost enrollment, strengthen student retention and provide state-of-the-art facilities to prepare students for their careers.
What’s been done
The College of Fine Arts’ new 36,750-square-foot Center for the Arts building will open to students in the fall.
The building is unique among collegiate facilities in the state of Alabama. It brings together many academic disciplines previously spread out across multiple buildings on the UM campus, and serves as a 21st century teaching and learning collaboratory and a prime resource for the Montevallo community and Shelby County.
The Center serves more than 600 majors in the College of Fine Arts departments of art, communication, music and theatre and is expected to increase overall enrollment in the College of Fine Arts by 26 percent and add a dance program to the college.
It features two performance venues, an art gallery, a large social space perfect for dinners, luncheons and rental events, a concessions area, a digital fabrication lab, design labs with animation software, multiple classrooms, theatre faculty and college offices, vocal performance rehearsal rooms, a dance studio, state-of-the-art production shops, a public pocket park, a sculpture garden, an outdoor commons area and adjacent ground-level parking.
But the facility’s impact will stretch far beyond the College of Fine Arts, as it was designed to provide services to the University and community as a whole.
“The Center will impact other colleges at the University, the city of Montevallo and the county through events that bring tourists, high school competitions, University recruiting events and regional meetings that serve the interests of our county and beyond,” said Dr. Steve Peters, dean of the College of Fine Arts, noting the facility will have a positive economic and cultural impact on the entire community.
Many generous donors have helped make this project happen, several of whom have spaces named after them in the new Center for the Arts:
Alabama Power Foundation Inc. — Alabama Power Foundation Orchestra Seating
Drs. Bill & Jeanetta Corbett Keller ’75 — William and Jeanetta Corbett Keller Center for the Arts Lobby
Mr. Mike Meadows ’79 — The Michael and Sue Meadows Black Box Theatre
Ms. Melanie A. Poole ’86 — Poole Art Gallery
The Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham
The Daniel Foundation of Alabama
Mr. James B. Gordy ’71
Mr. Timothy Lupinacci ’88 — The Tim and Ellen Lupinacci Dance Studio
The Sabia Family — The Sabia Family Lion’s Den Theatre Box Seating
Southwest Water Company — Southwest Water Company Water Feature
Mr. Joe B. Hill, Jr. ’88 — The Joe B. Hill Green Room
Ms. Barbara J. Sloan ’72 — Barbara Sloan Costume Technology Lab
Mrs. Barbara G. Bonfield ’58 — Barbara Goldstein Bonfield Center for the Arts Courtyard
Dr. Robert B. Couch — Maxine Couch Davis Voice Studio
Mr. Eric E. Olson ’72 and Mrs. Elin Olson Glenn ’98 — The Olson Family CAD Studio Design Lab
Mrs. Dorothy A. Wilson ’42 — Raymond and Dorothy Wilson Chorus Dressing Room
Merrill Lynch & Co. — Merrill Lynch Digital Display
Mr. Brad A. Osborne
Mrs. Beth Chapman ’84 — Beth Killough Chapman PV Conference Room
Mr. Stephen and Mrs. Annette Pickett ’76 — The Dean’s Office graciously provided by Steve and Annette Pickett
Mr. Robert Altman ’70 & Mrs. Peggy Altman ’69 — Robert and Peggy Altman Box Office
Holle Family Foundation – Holle Family Foundation Collaborative Commons Room
Barbara Blackerby — Conrad and Barbara Blackerby Control Booth
Mr. Jim and Mrs. Leann Dickson ’82 — Donor Wall Recognition
Mrs. Elin O. Glenn ’98 — Donor Wall Recognition
Ms. Susan Brenner ’17 — Donor Wall Recognition
Mr. Quincy D. Hall ’15 — Donor Wall Recognition
Dr. Jo Ann Rayfield ’62 — Donor Wall Recognition
Mrs. Susan H. Martin ’73 — Donor Wall Recognition
Mr. Phillip O. Hurst ’73 — Donor Wall Recognition
Dr. Steven J. Peters — Donor Wall Recognition
Mrs. Kelli Holmes and Mr. Daniel Holmes — Donor Wall Recognition
What’s in the works
The University broke ground on a new 10,000-square-foot building for the Michael E. Stephens College of Business on Sept. 5, 2019, officially beginning a project to greatly enhance the college’s offerings.
The new home for the SCOB will be a state-of-the-art and technology-rich facility. It will feature a large student commons and event space to facilitate interactions between students, faculty and the business community. Two additional technology-enhanced classrooms, team study rooms, professional development spaces and a boardroom will add much-needed expansion spaces for the college.
The building will honor the memory of its namesake, Michael E. Stephens, who passed away in 2017.
“Thanks to the generosity of Allison and Michael E. Stephens, we’ve designed a building that is going to honor Michael’s memory and honor the vision that Allison has for Montevallo. This was his dream. He always wanted a new building for the College of Business, and so I’m so grateful that this day has come,” said President Stewart III. “It will serve students well into the next generation. Breaking ground today is emblematic of the trajectory our University is enjoying.”
The new building will help further the success the College of Business has seen over the years, and will continue an upward trend in the college’s enrollment.
“It’s very exciting to be able to have this new facility to reflect the work the students and faculty have done together and to honor Mike’s legacy and his desire to see this college thrive,” said Dr. Stephen Craft, dean of the College of Business. “These are exciting days to be studying business. Our enrollment is up, and we’re having great outcomes for students. This will allow us to enhance that process. I think Mike would be very happy to see that this facility is going to be dedicated to the work the faculty do and to know that this facility is going to have a direct impact on the lives of students.”
The addition will be adjacent and attached to Morgan Hall and Comer Hall, where the college is currently housed. Once the new building is complete, the college will maintain its presence in Morgan Hall.
Several donors have or will have spaces named in their honor in the existing or under-construction portions of the Stephens College of Business:
Timothy Lupinacci ’88 and Mrs. Ellen ’88 Lupinacci — The Tim and Ellen Lupinacci Board Room
Stephen McDaniel ’74 and Donna McDaniel — The Stephen and Donna McDaniel Interview Studio
Central State Bank — Central State Bank Classroom
Drs. Woody and Lynne Richardson ’80 — The Woody and Lynne Richardson Dean’s Suite
Tracey Morant Adams ’88 and Jeff Adams ’85 — The Tracey Morant Adams and Jeff Adams Conference Room
What’s to come
The University is in the midst of a fundraising campaign aimed at greatly modernizing and updating Harman Hall to provide students state-of-the-art workspaces to coincide with the quality instruction they are receiving.
The $1.1 million campaign will aid in the continued growth of Montevallo’s math and science programs and allow graduates to enter the workforce with a high degree of proficiency in their field.
UM is the only state university in Alabama that has not benefited from a new or updated science center in the past 15 years. The 52,722-square-foot Harman Hall, built in 1968, houses 17 laboratories and 12 lecture rooms. It serves 240 majors and nearly 1,800 students each semester.
Once the campaign is complete, Harman will see updated and ADA compliant laboratories, modernized equipment and state-of-the-art mathematics software. Students in the University’s math and science programs have seen tremendous success over the years, and the updated facility will further that trend.
“Renovated laboratories at UM will allow professors the space and resources needed to expand the current opportunities for students to participate in individualized research projects. This would be a unique experience for undergraduate students and an excellent recruiting tool for potential students,” said senior chemistry major Olivia Eldridge, who completed an internship at Harvard Medical School last summer. “As STEM fields continue to grow, renovating UM’s laboratories would be a great step toward building Montevallo’s reputation as a University that produces graduates with competitive knowledge in their fields and provides exceptional research opportunities for its students.”
Harman Hall currently has one space named in honor of a donor:
Mr. Robert C. Chapman ’63 — Robert C. and June Chapman Computer Laboratory