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Old Building with a New Purpose

Repurposed Building on Portland Avenue, Braden Simmons

The opening of the new Bruin Shop, previously known as The Belmont Store, is in the new Jack C. Massey Center, and has left a vacancy in the old building.

The Belmont Store which was previously located on the corner of Portland Avenue and 17th Avenue South moved prior to the fall semester with the conclusion of the new Massey Center. The previous building will be repurposed for students in Watkins College of Art and the O’More College of Architecture and Design as additional studio space.

“The space will be used primarily for architecture students. There will be an additional space in the back which will be a lighting studio for our photography students but may also be utilized by other disciplines such as fashion design,” said James Pierce, dean of Watkins College of Art.

Currently, there are studios in the Hitch Building, Leu Center for the Visual Arts and second floor of the Gabhart Student Center for students.

“By October, the majority of the space will be prepared for use by the architecture program, which has outgrown its space since being founded four years ago,” said Jhennifer Amundson dean of O’More College of Architecture and Design.

Architecture was in the top 20 majors at Belmont in 2022. The program continues to grow in numbers, causing overcrowding in studio spaces.

Lucy Buell, a sophomore architecture major, uses the studios in the Hitch Building three to four times a day.

The studio spaces on the main floor of the Hitch Building are used for classes during the day, so they are unavailable for students during prime work hours.

“During the day, when there's class, it’s packed - there's not an open table. So if you need to work on schoolwork, there's really nowhere to go because it's so packed,” Buell said.

McKenzie Acres, a sophomore interior design major, said it takes longer to complete assignments because of the overcrowding.

“It's hard this semester especially like I've noticed that everybody has class until at least six. The room is still full at like six o'clock at night,” Acres said. “I've been stuck probably doing stuff every night from six to 11.”

Studios are ideal workspaces for architecture and design students because of the larger desk spaces and access to materials.

The new space in the old Belmont Store should give students the resources they need within the growing program.

“I feel like a lot of times music majors get majority of the stuff and interior design is swept under the rug. It is kind of nice that we’re getting something new and kind of special to us,” said Acres.


This article was written by Gabriella Mendoza

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Oct 25, 2023

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