College of Music celebrates construction of Music Pavilion and facilities
Rainy weather didn't stop people from filling MSU's Cook Recital Hall on June 27 as it was announced that MSU's College of Music will undergo a major renovation and expansion project.
Faculty and students of the College of Music, various donors and Dean of the College of Music James Forger gathered to celebrate the project. It includes an expansion that will increase MSU's music facilities by more than 40 percent, according to a press release.
That includes multiple new performances spaces, rehearsal hall practice rooms and improved acoustics for music students.
The Music Building, which houses the College of Music on the north part of campus, hasn't seen a renovation since 1956. The project is the result of growth in the College of Music, which currently services over 600 student majors.
Interim President John Engler, who was in attendance for the ceremony, said that the $35 million project aims to attract more musically-inclined students to the College of Music.
"Very shortly you’re going to hear a symphony of heavy equipment sounds outside this building," Engler said. "This is an important project and its commitment on the part of the leadership of the university that we’ve got to seek and attract talented, creative students and faculty."
Construction to expand the Music Building began this week. The official groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled to be held October 19, with the entire project expected to be completed in June 2020.
Forger and Engler both acknowledged the support of all donors such as James K. Billman Jr., lead donor and MSU alumnus. Selma Hollander and Dolores "Dee" and Byron Cook were also recognized as supporters.
Dolores Cook is currently a co-chair of the Empower Extraordinary Campaign, under which the Music Pavilion project is a top priority. Cook has overseen the collection of over $11 million toward her total $17.5 million fundraising goal. Another $17.5 million will be matched by the university itself.
"I look out at those of you sitting in this room today and I know how you feel because that’s how I feel," Cook said. "This feels like Christmas Eve."
Cook and her fellow speakers said they were extremely thankful for the support shown over the course of the long journey to make the dream of the project a reality.
College of Music student and 2017 MSU Marching Band drum major Nicole Sanford also spoke on behalf of her fellow students. Sanford has high hopes for the future of music students in the new facilities.
"I think we’ll be able to get even more students here in from a lot of other places as well," Sanford said. "Having nicer facilities is obviously going to draw young people towards this university."
Sanford sees students being able to practice more and make memories during their time studying in the College of Music.
"Michigan State is on the move. It is still on the move," Cook said. "This small college is a window into this great university."
The hope is the renovations and expansion will contribute to improving MSU's educational music programs.