Following years of planning by faculty and students, the Hancock College community reached a major milestone Wednesday by breaking ground on one of the biggest projects yet — an 88,000-square-foot Fine Arts Complex on the Santa Maria campus.
The $48 million project was financed by a combination of funds from the California Community College Chancellor's Office, Measure I bonds and a $10 million gift from former piano instructor Patricia Boyd, for whom a recital hall in the complex will be named.
The two-story facility also will house the college's dance, drama, film, graphics, music, photography and multimedia programs, along with a 400-seat music venue.
During a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday, college officials and staff clad in construction hats shared about the journey toward establishing the facility before officially turning dirt at the site.
The complex will be located in an unoccupied lawn and parking lot area between the Performing Arts Center and the Humanities, Business and Community Education buildings.
"This has been a long time coming, and it's going to be a tremendous asset for the college and for the community when we bring all of our media arts [and] traditional fine arts into one place," Hancock President and CEO Kevin Walthers said.
Members of the Fine Arts Department, Board of Trustees, Associated Student Body Government and Citizens Measure I Oversight Committee also were present for the livestreamed ceremony.
Fine Arts Department Chair John Hood said over half of Hancock's students come through the Fine Arts Department at one point or another, highlighting its importance to the campus community.
"We are spread across the campus in six different buildings, and so to have everyone under one beautiful building is going to be just a dream come true," Hood said.
Fine Arts Professor Emeritus and former department chair Steve Lewis also shared about the level of work that went into the facility during his 34-year tenure at the college.
Lewis witnessed a few different iterations of the complex over the years and said he was happy to see it finally take shape after so much work.
"I’m so pleased to have had the opportunity to come back now and see this building break ground and offer consolidated resources," he said.
Roebbelen Construction Management Services, AMG and Associates, and architecture firm DLR Group have been contracted for the project, which is scheduled to reach completion in fall of 2022, according to college spokeswoman Lauren Milbourne.
A video of the groundbreaking ceremony can be viewed on Hancock College's YouTube page.
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