Salt Lake Community College celebrates the opening of the Center for Arts and Media (CAM) at South City Campus. Construction on the addition and remodel that has continued alongside class activity is winding down while the buzz about its state-of-the-art features is ramping up.
Join Salt Lake Community College in celebrating the opening of the new Center for Arts and Media (CAM) on Nov. 7-8 at the South City Campus. All events are free and open to the public.
“This building is not like any other in the state’s higher education system,” says Jon Clark, associate professor in film and theater programs at SLCC. “This is probably the most technologically advanced building for student use.”
To see firsthand the state-of-the-art features, an official dedication and open house will be held Nov. 7 and 8 for all interested in attending. Included in the dedication will be guest speaker Bill Strickland, workshops for high school students from around the Salt Lake Valley, a documentary screening of “Out of Nowhere” and a student art exhibit featuring some of the projects CAM fosters.
“What we like to do is have a celebration of completion of the building and invite all those who were involved and students so that they can see what’s going on, even students from other areas who are not exposed to this,” says Bob Askerlund, assistant vice president of facilities services for SLCC. “It’s just a time to celebrate the completion of a very detailed and wonderful project, so we are excited to do that.”
CAM houses a new library, student bookstore and large multi-purpose room.
With projection and sound capabilities and seating for approximately 200, students can use the multi-purpose room for activities including film viewings or live musical events. The building boasts 187,000 square feet of creative space and advanced technology designed for students to explore and further their careers.
“It’s about the opportunity that this brand new building brings to students and how students can now be connected to the technology, to the opportunities that are in that facility,” says Neil Vanderpool, associate dean of communication and performing arts. “How do we as faculty inspire, promote and educate students—train students to be able to be competitive in the workforce? That’s what this building is all about: students.”
CAM propels a number of SLCC programs, including journalism, television broadcast production, music technology and recording and visual arts. However, it is the center’s very modern sound, film and digital animation studios that are the showcase of the college, available not only for teaching but also hosting special guests.
“We have a recording studio that is one of the most up to date, magnificent recording studios anywhere. You’d have to go clear to Los Angeles [to find anything similar]. There’s nothing like [it] in the state,” says Vanderpool.
The architect for the building is local firm GSBS Architects, but the studios were designed by acoustic and audiovisual experts Salter and Associates of San Francisco, Calif.
“They have a very good pedigree in the industry. They have worked with a lot of big names in film and sound, such as Dolby Laboratories and Skywalker Sound,” says Steven Sue, an instructor in the new music recording technology program.
The music recording studio, which can handle live recording of up to 35 musicians, houses a 48-channel Solid State Logic Duality console that was shipped from England.
“Students are getting their hands on really amazing new equipment,” says Clark. “A student can go from here and walk into a studio in Los Angeles or New York and find exactly the same console in those studios.”
Also garnering attention is a 30-seat film screening room featuring a digital 2K projector and Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound.
“This is also a formal presentation space where we can bring special guests to the campus [and] show them student work and conceptual stuff. So, this is a showplace of the campus for sure,” says Clark.
The music recording technology program began last year and has already seen an increase in full-time student enrollment.
“For the school, it is a big jump ahead in terms of educational offerings that we can provide around media and entertainment,” says Sue.
Included for beginning to advanced film and sound students are 12 small editing suites and four larger rooms intended to allow teams of students to edit film, television and sound projects collaboratively. SLCC’s much larger radio and television studio and newsroom are also located within the building.
“It’s going to be the best production facility that students can use in the state,” says Tyler Smith, assistant professor in communication. “It is an absolutely amazing [notion] that students will really get their hands on the equipment.”
The CAM has attracted the notice of local television stations.
“We’ve had station managers and producers come through on tours who have been not only impressed by the quality and resources that we have, but also have been really interested in working with our students,” says Smith. “Channel 4 has expressed interest in taking on our students as interns, and Park City Television, too, has expressed interest.”
Future collaborations between SLCC students and local professionals on joint projects are also being developed.
“We are also working with Channel 19 and Channel 4 in collaborating with us to do production through our new television studio,” says Smith. “They would bring in a producer and our students would have the opportunity to work on a show. I can’t speak specifically yet, but it’s really great.”
The idea for the CAM began several years ago when faculty determined there was a need for the college to expand its ability to more effectively teach new media technologies and performing arts. According to Clark, the demand from students for more technologically advanced classes exceeded the college’s ability to teach.
“Years ago, [faculty and staff] talked about the need for better classrooms,” says Clark. “It was determined that to do what they wanted, the cost would be about 60 million dollars.”
A collaborative effort commenced between SLCC, the Utah State Legislature, the SLCC Student Association and Salt Lake City School District (SLCSD), each contributing a portion of the funding.
“The total cost of the building is $45 million; $21 million came from the legislature, $10 million from SLCC, $6.9 million from the SLCC Student Association and $6.6 million from the SLCSD,” says Rachel Colledge, development officer for the CAM. “Along with these funding sources we also received a grant from the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation in the amount of $100,000 and $14,000 from the R. Harold Burton Foundation.”
At the time of development, the legislature was exploring ways to encourage student enrollment across the state, along with growing Utah’s influence on the film industry.
“About 2008, the legislature looked at wanting to encourage students and increase education. They allotted [approximately] $20 million. The student auxiliary added some money for a bookstore, library [and] student offices. SLCSD needed a new CTE building. Through a lot of cooperation and some compromise, each group got some of what they needed or wanted,” says Clark.
Aside from funding and advanced technologies, CAM represents other unique circumstances, including the onsite presence of SLCSD’s Innovations High School.
“We’ve had a presence on this campus since the get-go,” says Kenneth Grover, director of high schools for SLCSD and principal of Innovations High School located at the south end of the CAM.
Innovations is a public high school that allows students to build their own schedules. Students may choose to take classes from SLCC, the district’s CTE and the school’s own in-house classes, allowing students to move at their own pace and create the learning environment of their choice.
“As the remodel and renovation took on life, and it looked like we were going to get some traction with the legislature, President Bioteau and I worked together to get this funded,” says Grover. “She needed our help, because they needed to have a partner. We were that partner.”
A lot of people from each interested party contributed not only ideas but compromise and cooperation as the project got rolling and received funding.
“Through a lot of cooperation and some compromise, each group got some of what they needed and wanted,” says Clark. “It was kind of a perfect storm of all these things coming together. A lot of cross pollination and cooperation took place between everyone.”
No matter what a student’s area of study is, everyone can benefit from the CAM according to Vanderpool, who wants to see students utilizing the college’s new resources.
“I think students need to take advantage of it, they need to get in the programs. If I’m a nursing student, do I still like to take a dance class? If I’m a business major, maybe I’d like to take an acting class just so I can be better able to present myself in my business,” says Vanderpool.
Cross disciplinary study and a more integrative approach to student projects is a goal emerging in several departments at SLCC, including the embrace of students producing multimedia for effective communication of their work.