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Gadsden State fine arts center to undergo $7.9M renovation

GADSDEN In a sight that more resembled a home renovation TV show than a college building, officials with Gadsden State Community College took sledge hammers to walls Monday to launch a large-scale renovation of Wallace Hall.

“We are excited about this occasion,” said Gadsden State President Kathy Murphy. “We are making history today. We are making sure that our employees, our students and our community have the facility they deserve.”

Gadsden State President Dr. Kathy Murphy takes a swing at Wallace Hall demo. (Gadsden State Photo)

The Wallace Hall Fine Arts Center project will cost almost $7.9 million. The academic wing will undergo complete renovation of classrooms and studio space that will be used for courses in photography, pottery, visual arts, choral and band.

Renovations will also be made to the computer lab and restrooms as well as new interior sheetrock walls, doors, flooring and paint throughout the building. The project also includes updated electrical, plumbing and mechanical systems.

Exterior renovations will include an updated brick and precast façade; new concrete paved courtyard with lighting; a new front entry to the Fine Arts Center and academic wing; and all new windows.

Mario Gallardo, chairman of the Fine Arts Division at Gadsden State, said Wallace Hall is more than just a building.

“It is the epicenter for creativity and celebration of the arts at Gadsden State and for the community of northeast Alabama,” he said. “It’s a place where students can dream, build, play and imagine a beautiful future.”

It’s also a place that connects the community with Gadsden State, he said.

“Wallace Hall serves as a space to bring the community together like nothing else can,” Gallardo said. “The arts cross all boundaries that might keep us apart and reveal our humanity and help us to empathize with our neighbors. I’ve said many times that what we do here doesn’t stay here. It ripples out into the community.”

The project is being funded by a bond that was approved in November by the Alabama Community College System Board of Trustees. The bond is also funding the construction of a baseball/softball complex. Gadsden State broke ground on the complex April 2.

Lathan Associates of Hoover is the architectural firm and the contractor is Hudak Construction Co. of Gadsden. Demolition is underway with the renovation projected to be completed next summer.

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