Lee to Break Ground Monday on New Communication Arts Building
Saturday, July 13, 2013
Lee University will begin construction Monday, July 15,
on its newest addition to the campus. The new building, which will house Lee’s
Communication Arts Department, will be built on the extreme southwestern corner
of campus and will see use by the start of Lee’s fall semester in August of
“It’s exciting finally to be starting on this project,” said
Lee President Dr. Paul Conn. “It’s going to connect our campus directly to the
downtown business district in a beautiful and dynamic way.”
building will face Church Street, lying between Ocoee and Church Streets, along
Central Avenue to the south, on property formerly owned by First Baptist Church
and earlier was a commercial strip including a JCPenney store and other retail
businesses. Corn Apartments also formerly occupied a portion of this
“The ‘front door’ of this building will be on the Church
Street side,” continued Conn. “Most of the pedestrian traffic will move in and
out from Church Street, so the primary entrances and a terrace is on that side.
On the other hand, we want this building to look terrific from Ocoee Street, so
there really is no “back” of this building. It’s designed with a 360-degree
view, and there will also be an entrance on the corner of Ocoee and Central
Avenue, facing toward the courthouse.”
The total project is slated to
cost $10 million, including the site, construction and equipment. The building
will cover 40,000 square feet on two floors.
The structure will
feature a state-of-the-art “black box” theatre seating 200 for stage
productions; a television studio and sound stage; a 120-seat film screening
theatre; eight video editing suites; a student journalism lab; 22 faculty
offices; classrooms of various sizes; and a computer lab.
building will also host a new facet to Lee’s growing food services options, with
a food kiosk by Sandella’s Flatbread Café, a Connecticut-based operator of
restaurants which features flatbreads, wraps, and sandwiches.
Lee’s recent buildings have included food venues: Dunkin Donuts, Subway,
Chick-Fil-A, Einstein Bagels, and Jazzman’s Coffee all operate within Lee’s
Department of Communication Arts is one of Lee’s
fastest-growing departments. Last year it served 369 students pursuing B.A. and
B.S degrees in communication studies, public relations, theatre, and digital
media, while offering minors in advertising, communication studies, journalism,
public relations, telecommunications and theatre.
“Some of the most
remarkable and creative work at Lee is being done in the Communications
Department,” said Conn. “It’s time for us to give them a space of their own,
with top-notch equipment and facilities. I believe this is one of the brightest
areas at Lee moving into the future.”
Cole Strong, director of
special projects in Lee’s president’s office, is the administrator supervising
the construction and outfitting of the building.
“We are excited to
get underway,” said Strong. “Now we need some dry weather so we can get the
footers in the ground and start building the super structure. It’s going to be
an exciting next couple of months.”
The project will be completed by
Tri-Con, Inc., a design-build firm which has built numerous other downtown
buildings (the Museum Center at Five Points, the Police Headquarters, and the
Cleveland-Bradley County Public Library), as well as most of the Lee campus.
Tri-Con has engaged the firm of Rardin and Carroll Architects as the lead
consulting architects for the project.
Lee has also contracted with
Acoustic Dimensions, Inc., a Dallas, Texas, company which specializes in
theatrical and telecommunications venues, to supervise the outfitting of the