STORY BY LINDSAY FIEGLE
Though many Drake fine art students are quick to complain about the old facility that is home to their department, students are hopeful about the possibility of having 24-hour access to the Harmon Fine Arts Center (FAC).
This spring, the Student Music Advisory Committee (SMAC) began an initiative to allow students 24-hour access to practice rooms, rehearsal spaces, technology labs and study areas.
The current hours for FAC are 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. on weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. on weekends.
SMAC began discussing the prospect of 24-hour access last semester. In February, Aimee Beckmann-Collier, the director of choral studies, asked two SMAC representatives to head the project and survey students.
The survey is aimed at art, music and theatre students, though there is an invitation on the email to “forward the link along to any Drake student who uses FAC on a regular basis.”
Questions included asking about students’ current usage and whether they would utilize 24-hour access.
Eve Thomas, a choral music education major, is a student representative on SMAC working on the initiative.
“We’ve gotten around 125 responses that have been overwhelmingly positive,” Thomas said.“We created the survey and sent an email to the heads of all the departments who said they would send it out.”
“I support it a lot. I think as art students, we are busy with all our classes and also by nature as artists,” Madelyn Ripperger, a musical theatre major, said. “To have a space we would always be able to use and practice our craft in would be really nice. Sometimes you don’t have time from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. to do that.”
Ripperger spends a lot of late nights in FAC rehearsing and practicing, but many times she has to stop and leave to go home with her work unfinished.
“I feel like it’s even more relevant as a commuter student,” Ripperger said. “To be able to stay here and keep focus would be really nice.”
First-year painting major Linzi Murray believes it would benefit art majors as well.
“I think the studio space really promotes productivity and creativity,” Murray said. “It’s a better environment than my dorm room to draw or paint. Having the freedom to go whenever you want would be really convenient.”
While not many students have concerns, Alina Grimm, the interim fine arts manager, said that not everyone is on board yet.
“I know that there has been hesitation from security,” Grimm said. “Drake can be held liable and afterhours are more concerning.”
FAC contains a lot of expensive equipment, such as computer labs containing music software, drawing studios and many pianos, but those resources are the same ones that students would like late-night access to.
“As a former music major, I understand the desire for 24-hour access,” Grimm said, who acknowledged the necessity of finding a dividing line between meeting the needs of students, and keeping the building secure.
Ripperger understands why there are concerns, though she doesn’t believe late night access would be any more of a risk than regular hours.
“I think we’re all very responsible people and we would be so grateful to have the resource that we wouldn’t mess around with it” Ripperger said.
“I think [getting 24 hour access] could be a possibility, especially with the keycard system implemented this year,” Thomas said. She knows she would utilize the additional time. “I’m here during the week pretty much every night until 1 a.m.”
The survey closed on April 3, and now SMAC members plan to analyze results and address any concerns raised before presenting their case to the Dean of College of Arts and Sciences.