Notes from the second consultation
September 22, 2014

NSCAD President Dianne Taylor-Gearing welcomed approximately 25 staff, faculty and students to the second of two consultations regarding improvements to the Fountain Campus. In outlining the reasons for the gathering (on Monday, Sept. 22), Professor Taylor-Gearing said the brainstorming sessions were a chance to shape plans for the Fountain Campus; that any plans at this point are only broad strokes and not a done deal; that the donated funds will only go so far and those improvements must be managed carefully.

Feedback received during the two consultation sessions will be considered by the Academic Resources Committee, which will lead the development of the design brief. The committee, with faculty and student reps, is chaired by the Dean, Dr. Ann-Barbara Graff. October 15th is the approximate deadline for the creation of that brief, with the goal to have renovations completed by the opening of the fall 2015 semester.

A portion of the funds have been earmarked for building and fire code updates;  signage to recognize the donor and give NSCAD more of a presence in the downtown; exterior enhancements including the painting of facades and window upgrades; boiler and energy efficiency improvements.

Further discussion:

  • Construction must be planned to minimize impacts on students.
  • Basic repairs are needed that don’t affect the entire school but are nonetheless important. List of priorities should be established.
  • Accessibility should be a focus – and easy changes can be made, for example, eliminating the “lip” at the entrance of the Anna Leonowens Gallery.
  • Deferred maintenance has meant the campus has missed out on vital updates. There will be fire doors between buildings that will be triggered to close in event of emergencies, LED lighting in stairwells, etc.
  • Parts of the school are so rundown that they are embarrassing—eg. dingy stairwells. They need freshening up.
  • Idea to challenge architects in the city to give advice with dealing with historic buildings
  • Heritage Trust could provide expert help in applying for additional heritage money
  • A space is needed for meetings and gatherings that can be booked, for example for presidential stakeholder meetings or for meetings by outside groups

Emerging themes:

A new "front door" for NSCAD

The front entrance and the opening up of the library on the first floor can open up NSCAD to the wider community—letting the public know what we do while putting NSCAD’s best face forward and acting as the “heartbeat” for the university.

This area could be wide open, accessible from Duke Street, and adaptable—a multipurpose space that could have smaller meeting rooms and could open up for larger gatherings. It should be a social space that allows faculty, staff and students to interact.

Students need a flexible, available space to do their work (if they don’t have a studio) and to meet with each other. “Social space is one thing that is truly absent at NSCAD.”

Flexible space would incorporate such things as a multi-faith prayer room, front-line support, and international student lounge.

Aesthetics are important. There should be student art on display. A percentage of the donation (1%) could be earmarked for art creation.

Library could be consolidated on the second floor so that the first floor (at the corner of Hollis and Duke Streets) becomes more of a public face for NSCAD. “It’s inviting and things are always going on.”

Suggestion that the main entrance be moved to the middle of Fountain Campus, with showcases for art, security desk – “make the school feel more alive.”

Anna Leonowens Gallery

The gallery, which also presents NSCAD's public face, should be made accessible. The gallery should be made more beautiful and more comfortable. It could also be used to host more events and meetings.

Continuing the dialogue

If you have a "blue sky" "big picture" suggestion for the Fountain Campus, we'll make sure it gets to the Academic Resource Committee which is tasked with drafting the design brief. Send to: nscad.ca