Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

December 9, 2023

Augustana’s Bergendoff Hall of Fine Arts to receive renewal

Augustana’s Bergendoff Hall of Fine Arts is on track to begin renovations by 2019.  Bergendoff is the only remaining academic facility on campus to remain unaddressed in terms of updating since opening it’s opening in the late 1950’s.

While Kent Barnds, Augustana’s vice president of enrollment, communication and planning, says that construction is not ready to begin, plans are in place and fundraising will begin in the near future.

The project was initially planned to begin construction in 2017.  However, due to unforeseen budget constraints, such as the replacement of cooling towers and funding of yet unpaid MAP Grants, construction had to be temporarily delayed. 

“That $2.5 million (the cost of replacing the cooling towers) are part of the institutional resources that would go towards deferred maintenance,” said Barnds.  “That would normally go to projects like Bergendoff and other projects.”

What students can expect from the new Bergendoff is for it to be a purpose-driven building dedicated to the arts.

“The concept is to open up the space in Bergendoff and make it reflective of how students learn and faculty teach today,” said Barnds.  “Much of the renovation of Bergendoff will be focused on improving the spaces and places for our music department.”

Barnds said that at this time, there is not a grand plan to do much with the Art History Suite.

Annie Mitchell, a senior music education student, said she is excited for future students to be able to experience a renovated Bergendoff that is conducive towards music. 

“The caliber of music learning and creating that goes on in our building is exquisite, despite amenities that are subpar at best, and destructive at worst,” said Mitchell.  “It’s not that we are trying to whine, it’s just frustrating to see the rest of the campus being renovated and cared for while our building gets worse.”

Funding for the project will be from a blend of sources coming from the Reserve for Depreciation, which are institutional resources that are used for updating and up keeping buildings, and a mix of fundraising dollars.  The Reserve for Depreciation would be used more for items that wouldn’t necessarily get donors attention.

“If you look at Bergendoff, we have about $4 million dollars set aside (in the reserve) for deferred maintenance, which is used for new windows, new mechanical systems, things that no one would really know,” said Barnds. 

The new Bergendoff renewal, mainly, is going to provide a beautiful space for students to learn music in a historic building.

“As a future educator, I think it’s important to understand that beautiful music and learning can happen in any environment,” said Mitchell.

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Augustana’s Bergendoff Hall of Fine Arts to receive renewal