Work begins on new art space

An artist’s rendering of the renovated Deschutes Building at the RCC Redwood Campus.

A new art space is coming to Rogue Community College.

Construction crews began work on Jan. 14, 2019 to revamp and reimagine the Deschutes (D) Building on the RCC Redwood Campus as a new art instruction center. The $2 million project was made possible by the $20 million bond approved by voters in the 2016. RCC plans to have the art building ready for fall term 2019.

“I want to thank the voters for supporting the bond that is enabling the renovation of the art building on the Redwood Campus,” said Navarro Chandler, Dean of Instruction, General Education and Transfer. “Your decision to invest in the betterment of RCC will have long-lasting benefits for RCC students, the community of Grants Pass, and Southern Oregon.”

When finished, the 6,246-square-foot facility will be a new home for art classes in Josephine County. The building will include three large, well-lit and ergonomically designed studio classroom spaces, a well-equipped computer lab and media center, a lobby and exhibit space, and two faculty offices.

The shell of the building will be completely refitted, and the design will take full advantage of the natural light opportunities of the location. The painting, drawing, sculpture and design studios will have generous glass areas on the north and east faces, as is ideal for those media practices. Jewelry and metalsmithing will be taught in one of the classrooms.

Karl Brake, art department chair, said the college’s vibrant art programs will greatly benefit from the new space. When the RCC construction bond was passed, the decision was made to move the 2D classes and main faculty offices from the Esther Bristol Education Center in downtown Grants Pass to the Redwood Campus. “We began working with administration, the facilities department, and ORW Architecture to optimize this change for our students,” he explained. Ceramics will remain downtown for both credit and Continuing Education classes.

Brake thanked everyone involved in the new space for their support. “This space, and all its furnishings and equipment, have been designed for the future so, in the decades to come, it will remain a viable and vibrant home for the visual arts at RCC.”

Brake noted that “the architects came up with a wonderfully attractive entrance design.” It will have a spacious awning – a practical consideration for students, who often must transport and protect large art projects in and out of the building – and an outdoor gathering and resting spot. It will be a welcoming space that serves as a destination and gathering place for RCC students.

Contractor for the project is Adroit Construction.