The $145 million Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, which is nearing completion was started in 2004 with the purpose of providing RPI with enhanced facilities for programs, performances, and research. Though all major structural work has been done, the construction of EMPAC still has a little ways to go.
Claude Rounds, vice president for administration, explained the situation and current estimates to completion. He stated, “We look pretty good for May ’08,” although work on the finishing touches will probably continue through October 2008.
“There are still items left to be fit up, in addition to equipment and technology for use in research that are not yet installed,” Rounds explained. “As we got to this point, it was necessary to do things in sequence. Now, we are into interior finishes. [There will be] quite a bit more activity.”
Rounds noted that “substantial work” still needs to be completed in the interior, including necessary plumbing and painting throughout the building as well as the installation of the sky-light and the wood hull.
Rounds expects the installation of the natural red cedar for the hull to happen within the next 30 to 90 days. “From an external perspective it is one of the most significant pieces of work … [it is] the most prominent and noticeable feature.”
There is also much external work to be done; construction is currently focusing on the north and south sides of the structure. Next spring will see the completion of the east side.
“Come the winter, it will look like the building is done,” commented Rounds. “I think we are at a point, where we are from completion … where seeing the architecture of EMPAC will elevate the level of anticipation, for the opening in May of ’08.”
Regarding the financial situation, Rounds stated that the Board approved the budget, which included all construction yet to be performed and technology yet to be installed, is very much on “the right track.”
The official opening of EMPAC is scheduled to occur on May 3, with an opening celebration to follow in the fall.