By Bailey Basham
After more than 14 months of construction, work on the Jackson Center for Music and Worship Arts is complete. The university will celebrate its opening and dedication with a week of concerts in the performance hall.
The university closed the $1.4 million real estate deal in Dec. 2015 on the land that formerly belonged to Volunteer Trucking Company and renovations on the existing buildings on the property began soon after.
The Jackson Center for Music and Worship arts, named in honor of William R. Jackson’s music-loving mother and daughter, is home to the Department of Music, the Center of Worship Arts and the National Praise and Worship Institute (NPWI).
The Jackson family is from a Nazarene background and has donated to several of Trevecca’s sister schools in the past. William R. Jackson’s $3.5 million donation, in conjunction with contributions made by previous donors, is what made finalizing the building possible.
According to David Diehl, dean of the school of music, just a little under 10 percent of Trevecca’s undergraduate population are School of Music and
Worship Arts majors. In addition to those students, there are about 5 percent of non-majors who are involved in ensembles or enrolled in one of the School of Music and Worship Arts minors.
“I came here in 1997, and the strategic plan included a fine arts building as one of the priorities. The administration and everyone involved has tried very hard over these 20 years to raise the money, and we had some key donors that made this possible. I’m so grateful for all the people that have tried to make this possible,” said Diehl. “There has been a great deal of anticipation. I have been working on plans for 10 years based on different budgets and considerations and our academic program and needs. This facility is designed to meet current and future students needs not only for their study here but we think we will prepare them for the type of skills they will need in the world and in their vocational areas. It’s just so exciting to be in this space. It’s beautiful and well-designed. It’s functional and it’s flexible.”
The building was slated to be completed at the beginning of the spring semester. Three months into the semester, David Caldwell said getting
building permits from the city took longer than anticipated.
“Metro is backlogged and understaffed for all the growth they’ve had, so they delayed us about 60 days at starting,” said Caldwell. “The goal was to
get in for the start of January and to be able to start having classes in there.”
Caldwell said there were some budget overages but that they weren’t caused from that delay.
“We went over budget a bit because we had to change some orders, and decided to add some technology after the design,” said Caldwell. “[Then there were] things like the sod. Because of the drought, all the sod farms in Tennessee didn’t have any. We tried going to Kentucky, but it was so wet there that they couldn’t cut the sod. We ended up getting the sod from Indiana. They were only able to cut so many square feet a day, so we were getting the allotment when we could.”
For Diehl, the best part about the building is the aesthetic that ignites the creativity in the students.
“I think the architects have done an excellent job of taking an existing structure and breathing new life into it. It’s a great place to do creative
work. We’re so excited about the fact that someone had the vision and the expertise to create what they did out of they out of this space.
Younger students come in, and this place has the kind of vibe that a young student who wants to pursue creative work,” said Diehl. “Our hope
is that this will serve the entire student body. It will primarily serve school of music and worship arts majors, but our hope is that every student will either be part of an ensemble, attend a concert, use a practice room.”
The dedication and opening of the Jackson Center for Music and Worship Arts will be celebrated with a week-long series of events beginning March 16.
The Jackson Center dedication service is today in the Music Garden at 3:30 p.m, followed by an open house from 4:15-5:30 p.m.
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