by KAITLYN BOEHLER
Construction on the university’s new Performing Arts Lab (PAL) is set to begin January 2017, paving the way for the expansion of the university’s growing arts program.
“The Tiffin University music majors and performing arts ensembles do not have enough space to meet the growing program needs and demands,” said Ali Rees, director of prospect research at Tiffin University.
The arts program has grown tremendously since 1995 when it started with one choir of a few singers and has outgrown its current space in Hayes Center for the Arts. Currently, the program has over 20 diverse performing arts ensembles that include vocal, instrumental, dance, theater, and concert production teams. One hundred and seventy-five students, nearly 20 percent of on-campus students, participate in these extracurricular art programs.
An anonymous donor has agreed to match contributions dollar-for-dollar up to $4 million. The donation goes to the university general fund; however, the university’s first priority is completing the lab.
Located in the repurposed Pettibone warehouse behind the welcome center, the lab will include: a large band room; a choir room and dance studio; a professional quality recording studio; a music production and keyboard lab; music classrooms; practice rooms; offices; and teaching rooms. The university hopes to finish construction by the end of 2017.
The lab will also serve Tiffin’s community by offering a children’s choir, ProMusic Camp, and the ProMusic Festival. There are over 385 area children and Tiffin University students who participate in the arts programs.
“The PAL will provide essential space needed to support the many community outreach programs and concerts that the music department offers,” Rees said. “The facility will integrate academic pursuits with essential professional and personal 21st century skills.”
Tiffin University also offers a professional music degree, which has the fastest-growing enrollment of any degree offering.
Ruby Santiago, a sophomore at Tiffin University minoring in music, is excited to improve her skills by using the PAL. “The Arts Lab will enhance my ability to work in a more productive manner,” she said. “It will allow me to use my abilities, resources and lessons that I have learned from the department.”
Santiago is excited for the completion of the lab and for the future of the music department. "I am overly ecstatic for what is to come for the department in the next year, and I am glad that I will be around to watch all these much-needed and beautiful changes unfold.”