Donations allow for new buildings

The sound of construction may not seem like something to look forward to, but this year at the University of Miami, it is.

UM will be breaking ground on three new, much needed state-of-the-art buildings: an updated music library and technology center at the School of Music, a spacious addition at the School of Architecture, and central facilities for the School of Nursing.

The two-story Marta and Austin Weeks Music Library and Technology Center, named after the couple who donated $8 million towards the $10 million building, will be three times larger than the current music library. It will house musical books, scores, recordings, reference materials and videos, and six computer labs. Each of these labs will be designed for specific purposes, such as music engineering, media writing and production, and electronic music.

The School of Music’s Head Librarian, Nancy Zavac, said the new library will make things easier and less confusing for students, who must now go across campus to the Richter Library in search of musical texts and videos. Zavac said that the technology available in the computer labs will also be greatly improved.

William Hipp, the dean of the School of Music, told the Coral Gables Gazette recently that as more musicians cross over into different kinds of music, modern technology is used to aid the process.

“Students are going to need a whole different set of skills and techniques to be able to do that,” Hipp said, “and the new music center will allow students to more easily acquire those technical skills.”

The Marta and Austin Weeks Music Library and Technology Center is set to open in the spring of 2004.

The School of Architecture will be expanding its complex with a $5.5 million two-story building that will be home to a spacious gallery and lecture hall, offices, classrooms and a general reception area.

The new building, anticipated to open in the fall of 2004, will bring together architecture programs that are currently spread across campus. The dean of the School of Architecture, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, said students will benefit by being able to take classes in their school instead of having to walk across campus. She said that the new facilities will make things easier for the employees, too, by giving them more room to work, and will benefit the university as a whole.

“We hope that people will think it’s a beautiful building and embellishes the campus,” she said.

Fourth-year architecture student Luis Bustamente said he thinks it will be a good experience for students in the School of Architecture to see the process of their new building being constructed right in their backyard.

“It will be a new center for our school, designed for our specific use,” Bustamente said.

UM’s School of Nursing will be relocating from its retired-frat-house building on the outskirts of campus to a new home right in the heart of campus by the end of 2004. The four-story M. Christine Schwartz Center for Nursing Education will also bring all of that school’s components together, and provide the School of Nursing with enough space to have a reception area for events, an updated technology lab, a nursing center for clients, classrooms, and more room for faculty and administrative offices.

Dr. Carolyn Lindgren, the associate dean of the School of Nursing, said that with the new facilities the school will be able to increase the size of their program and admit more students. Lindgren said that nursing students will benefit greatly by having a central building, and it will make them feel like more a part of the university.

“It will facilitate our ability to offer classes in a more efficient way than we are now,” Lindgren said.

The building will be situated around a four-story atrium which will serve as its lobby and main entrance.