STAFF EDITORIAL: Con West only the first step towards first-class facilities

As most Conservatory students have discovered, several Con faculty members now have their offices in the building adjacent to Taste of Thai, in a suite of offices now known as Con West. With the influx of new faculty and students, office space at “Con East” was at a premium. In that respect, Con West successfully addresses immediate concerns.

Lawrentians should view Con West as a stopgap measure and place their complaints about walking a block and a half to lessons in proper perspective.

However, students need reassurance that Con West is indeed a stopgap measure and not a “solution” for overcrowding. As Con enrollment rises, the small number of practice rooms created by the 1991 construction of Shattuck Hall remains insufficient for a serious conservatory of music.

Con West opened up a few practice rooms in the main building that previously doubled as office space. Nevertheless, one week into school, the familiar battles for practice space have resumed, and many students are once again left without a place to play.

More serious still is the lack of chamber ensemble rehearsal space. Jazz combos, quintets, students rehearsing extracurricular groups, or students who teach private lessons have few choices.

The current facilities do not meet the needs of student musicians or their small ensembles.

The time has come either for Con enrollment to decrease or for the University to make a meaningful commitment to excellent facilities, on a par with its recent investment in New Science Hall and Briggs Hall.

The University should make it known to students that something is being done to change the space situation on “the other side of the street.” Many students scratch their heads in bewilderment that the gated-off space east of the Conservatory remains completely unused.

Even an annex of temporary, heated classroom units that could be walled off into practice space would make use of the real estate.

Something must be built that addresses the needs not only of the faculty, but also of the students. Either cap enrollment, or come up with a plan. Con West improves the space situation—for the faculty, at least—from impossible to adequate.

But a first-class conservatory deserves first-class facilities.

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