In the crisp winter air, truck sirens, saws and hammers pounded away, audible to anyone in the area. Construction vehicles dodged in and out of the worksite entrance on South First East Street. A building rose from the ground up.
In 2019, demolition teams set to work to raze the Oscar A. Kirkham Building on the southeast end of campus. Previously, the structure contained a number of classes, including ceramics and dance, along with a 900- seat auditorium. According to BYU-Idaho campus tours, the building also hosted many famous figures, including a former first lady.
The Visual Arts Studio was designed to replace the Kirkham Building, centering its design on helping art students to sculpt and design ceramics. With over two years of work going into the new building, the doors opened at the beginning of this semester, providing a space for ceramics students to perfect their craft.
Originally planned to have a 9,000-square-foot floor plan, the building provides a larger environment for student pursing their degrees. Student projects line the walls in large glass cases at the entrance as large glass walls let in natural light.
Hyrum Benson, a ceramics professor, explained further the excitement they have for this new building.
“The way that the facility is designed, it is a lot more user friendly,” Benson said.” The students have a lot of space to utilize to their full advantage. We have the space where they can experiment.”
The building provides a world filled with opportunity and imagination for students. The ceramics building moved from the basement of the Ezra Taft Benson Building to the Kirkham Building. Now, these students have one place to call home and let their creativity run wild at the Visual Arts Studio.
“We have anything and everything we want to do related to ceramic and sculpture,” said Laurie, a junior studying art education. “We’re basically able to do it here.”
The new building designed specifically for ceramics allows students to use specialized and designated areas for the process of sculpting. Included in the facilities are areas for clay storage and mixing, a kiln room and a glaze room.
Although the doors are open, work continues to beautify the surrounding sidewalks leading toward the studio. Landscapers plant bushes and trees, while others spread mulch in preparation for grass. The east entrance to the Jacob Spori Building, previously blocked for construction, recently reopened for use.
“One of the challenges right now is waiting for all of the odds and ends to be finished,” Benson said.
As construction nears completion, future creators and craftsmen look at the new facilities as their chance to use a space designed for them to further their education. New buildings come with new tools and chances for success, and the Visual Arts Studio will be giving that to art students for years to come.