Katzen breaks ground

It has been a rainy season, but construction on the Katzen Arts Center continues as planned.

The future home of the performing arts department is located next to Nebraska Hall across Massachusetts Avenue from campus. The construction is on schedule and should open its doors to students in the spring 2005 semester, according to Jerry Gager of the Office of Facilities, Planning and Development.

"The rain hasn't helped, work has been slowed down," Gager said. "Right now the construction team is working on excavating dirt from the site."

Gager said it is "better to take dirt than mud," which is why the construction team has been waiting to haul out land.

"They are trying to take out about twenty to forty feet of dirt right now," Gager said. The Holder Construction Company based out of Atlanta is the firm working on the site.

Besides a "gallery space, studio and educational areas and new classrooms," the Katzen Arts Center will include a parking garage, which will hold space "for about five hundred cars, about that same as the Bender parking garage," Gager said.

The building is meant to be an "addition to the community as an art center," according to the Katzen Web site. Parking restrictions in the area has presented many problems, including limited space, complaints from neighbors and frequent ticketing by both D.C. Police and AU Public Safety.

"As long as the garage doesn't detract from the purpose of the building, more parking is always a great thing," SPA junior John Manning said.

"Many students have been watching the cranes and movement in the area next to the health center. It is important that students know what is going on with the construction," Gager said. "The most important thing is to get the web address out there so that students can watch the progress."

The Web site is located at www.american.edu/katzen and tells the students all about the new arts center. The site features a live web feed so that you can watch the progress of the construction as well as artist conceptions and floor plans of the completed structure.

The Katzen Arts Center is a point of interest for many students and prospective visiting students.

"I think it is a great thing that we are expanding the campus and our learning area," SOC junior Lindsey Brothers said. "I think it would be great if we had a overpass connecting the Katzen building to the Glover Gate entrance with a big sign that reads 'The American University."

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