New PAVA Center on its Way

September 26, 2019


Martin Liu ’20

Soon a new Performing and Visual Arts Center would be built on campus in Johnson Armory, looking to put together the Art Department. A more detailed timeline will come out around next month.

According to the Head of School, Mr. Matt Cavellier, the project can be divided into five phases. The first one is structural work in the weight room to ensure that the theater floor is strong enough. The second phase is to move the practice rooms and music suite into the old weight room. Next, the space currently occupied by the Music Department would be turned into a media center, which is also where the new library will be located. Fourthly, the Visual Art studios would move into where the library currently is. Finally, a new theater would be built in the old gym. Currently the school has a tentative timeline to finish step one through four by the start of school next year.

“Right now we are working with two different architects to get their proposed timelines,” said Mr. Cavellier, “we are deciding which architect we are gonna go with within the next month.”

As the school keeps growing in its size, Newhall Auditorium can no longer hold all the students and faculties anymore, which is why a new, larger theater is needed for weekly assemblies and other all-school events. Johnson Armory was the optimal spot suggested for the new theater by architects after a tour around the campus.

Even though the school would have a new theater, Newhall Auditorium would not go away. Instead, Newhall will serve as an alternate theater for performing arts events, and it will be up to the PAVA instructors whether an event would take place in the new theater or in Newhall. Space utilization studies are also taking place in the Art Studios to determine their future function.

The building of the new PAVA Center clearly shows that Shattuck-St. Mary’s is also focused on arts education. “We have two incredible arts programs now (Vocal Performance COE and Pre-Conservatory COE),” Mr. Cavellier said, “we certainly want to provide them a performing space that is equal to their programs.” He also did not deny the potential addition of a Dance COE and a Theater COE

The PAVA Center would not only benefit the SSM community but would help SSM to expand its outreach to people outside of our community as well. The space can also be provided to the elementary and middle schools in the area or programs like St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.

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