Making a plan
September 18, 2015

The Fountain family’s $3-million gift to NSCAD University sparked months of consultations on how best to enhance the student experience at NSCAD’s Fountain Campus.

Last night, the NSCAD Board of Governors concluded the best way to do that would be to plan for a departure from the historic campus, home to the university since the 1970s.

Resolution: Be it resolved that NSCAD management proceed with the planning of an exit strategy from the Fountain Campus facility on or before the year end 2019.

During the meeting, Margaret Fountain spoke in favor of the resolution, which was passed unanimously.


The necessity to move became apparent through the months of dialogue on campus following the announcement of the Fountain gift.

Through discussion at the Academic Resources Committee, five priority areas were established: a learning commons, new entrance, and enhancements to the student lounge, library and Anna Leonowens Gallery.

In March, Lydon Lynch Architecture was brought on as the architectural design consultant after a competitive RFP process. Principal architect Eugene Pieczonka became a frequent visitor to campus, as the firm fine-tuned four scenarios for the Fountain Campus, responding to stakeholders’ feedback. Mr. Pieczonka and Dean Ann-Barbara Graff presented on the four scenarios and priority areas at a town hall meeting in the Bell Auditorium on April 16, 2015.

After the end of the winter semester, discussions moved from the Academic Resources Committee to the adhoc  group, Architectural Design: Student Experience Advisory Group. Working with Lydon Lynch through the summer months, the group further refined the four scenarios and arrived at one preferred option focusing on renovations to the first and third floors of the library. Floor plans were developed and detailed costing was undertaken.

As well, renovations to the Anna Leonowens Gallery were begun, to be completed in time for I AM NSCAD: the Alumni Exhibition, running Sept. 29 to Oct. 9. Other improvements undertaken include a spruce-up to exterior facades, improved key card access system for greater security, and plans for new signage to give the campus better visibility.

“I think we all came to realize that as generous as the gift was, historic properties need so much more,” says NSCAD President Dianne Taylor-Gearing. “As charming as the Fountain Campus is, it’s time to pause and rethink plans for the future.”

The Board of Governors held a retreat in August to discuss NSCAD’s facilities in depth. After two days of fulsome discussion, including a presentation by student representatives Gabriel Soligo and Julie Hall, the board agreed that NSCAD needs a facility that facilitates a greater sense of community and supports the kind of interdisciplinary art, design and craft education that the students value.

“The consensus we arrived at was to plan an integrated campus model by 2019,” said Prof. Taylor-Gearing.

READ MORE: News from the Board of Governors' Sept. 17 meeting