Enterprise State Community College on Monday night held a special Celebration of the Arts ceremony and an open house to showcase the newly-completed renovations to Forrester Hall.
The building, which has been on ESCC’s campus since 1977, is the home of the college’s Fine Arts program. Renovations to Forrester Hall allow for new classrooms, equipment and technology.
Dr. Ken Thomas, chairperson of ESCC’s Fine Arts Division, said he is happy to see the renovations complete and thankful for the support of the community.
“ESCC is known for excellence in its arts program,” he said. “This tradition of excellence (is evident) with our students, faculty and now facilities.”
According to a release from ESCC, the renovations “provide distinct spaces for each of the fine arts concentrations in music, theater and art, including designated classroom space and upgraded technology for each concentration.”
Included in the renovations is a new ESCC Foundation Black Box Theater. The ESCC Foundation donated $350,000 for the completion of the theater, so college officials made the decision to name the theater after them.
The Foundation’s director, Chellye Stump, said the goal was to help implement a space the college and the community could be proud of.
“Our Foundation are first-class individuals who care only about supporting the needs of the college and the community,” Stump said at the welcome ceremony. “When our college’s administration began the discussions of a renovation project to Forrester, the Board of Directors immediately met to discuss what could be done to support the college and leave their mark on campus. As a result of these discussions, the decision was made to fund the renovations of this room by creating the ESCC Foundation Black Box Theater.”
One of the key pieces of the theater is a new $83,000 Yamaha grand piano, donated by Stan and Carol Windham, a long-time piano instructor at the college. Their children are also ESCC alumni, according to a release from ESCC.
Several community members, representatives and dignitaries were present at the welcome ceremony — held in the Black Box Theater — including Chancellor of the Alabama Community College System Jimmy Baker, ESCC Dean of Instruction Danny Long and ESCC President Matt Rodgers.
Baker called it a “delight” to see the growth and changes at ESCC, and Long thanked the faculty for their patience during construction work, which began in Spring 2019, and for their work with students.
“Tonight is about the Fine Arts Division and celebrating our students’ accomplishments,” Long said. “We can’t celebrate our students without celebrating the work of the instructors.”
Long added that the renovations will help the instructors in the Fine Arts Division “that teach all aspects of the arts from theater and choir to painting and drawing, photography, graphic design, instrumental instruction, theory and appreciation.”
Rodgers echoed that sentiment, and said he is thrilled to have a top notch facility for Fine Arts faculty and students.
“It’s a beautiful building, second to none,” he said. “What makes it even better are our instructors and our students.”
Following the welcome ceremony, guests were invited to tour Forrester Hall and take part in an ESCC Student Art Show featuring artwork from students enrolled in studio art courses in the Fine Arts Division during the Fall 2019 semester.
After the Student Art Show, ESCC’s annual Christmas Concert was held in the LBW Student Center.