New School of Music building coming to MU\'s campus

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COLUMBIA — The University of Missouri Board of Curators has approved plans to construct a new School of Music building on MU's campus.

The curator's unanimous approval at its last 2016 meeting last Friday allows Phase 1 of the project to begin and Phase 2 of the project will continue with fund raising for the overall plan.

Phase 1 is a $24 million project that includes designing the academic part of the new building. Phase 2 will focus on a 500-seat concert hall.

The School of Music is currently housed in the Fine Arts building, along with the Department of Art and the Department of Theater. The School of Music currently is spread across six buildings, which also house students and classes from other MU departments.

The new School of Music facility will be built at the northeast corner of Hitt Street and University Avenue after the Fine Arts Annex, which is there now, is demolished.  

Interim Arts and Sciences Dean Patricia Okker said the spaces music students work in now were not designed for musicians, and the new space will be beneficial for bringing students together in one place designed for music.

"The vision of this new school is to bring our composers, our performers, and our scholars and our educators all together in one building so they can work collaboratively together," Okker said.

Okker also said many people involved with the School of Music have been hoping for a new building for over 20 years.

"It really has been a long time coming," Okker said. "So it's really an exciting fruition of dreams of many different people." 

She also said the new building won't just benefit music students.

"Music touches everyone's lives and many people know this is going to be a facility that is going to be a beacon for the arts for the town, for the community, for campus," Okker said. 

Plans are already underway to begin designing the new building and it should be complete by July, 2019.