THE NEXT STEP in the College’s plans for the Williams Arts Campus will be to renovate the interior of the Mohican Building at 248 N. Third St. Construction will begin this summer with the goal to complete the work in 18 months.
The building’s interior, designed by KSS Architects of Philadelphia, will feature rehearsal space, media rooms, a studio, classrooms, faculty offices, and a technology room.
In addition, a new film and theater facility, also designed by KSS, will be built on the site of the former Case’s Tire building, scheduled to be torn down soon. The current working plan includes a black box theater named for former College president Daniel H. Weiss and his wife, Sandra Jarva Weiss, film screening room, scene and costume shops, dressing rooms, media room, student workspace, and a faculty office.
These new facilities for film & media studies and theater are complemented by the Williams Visual Arts Building which opened in 2001, the first step in the revitalization of the downtown gateway area, and the adjacent Ahart Family Arts Plaza, showcased at a world design expo.
“The Williams Arts Campus will serve as a vibrant gateway to Lafayette and the city and provide exciting new academic and cultural opportunities for students and the community,” President Daniel H. Weiss said at the announcement of the project, which has been made possible by a $10 million gift from the Morris R. Williams ’22 family. “It will be a creative hub rivaling that of any college.”
During their lifetimes, the late Morris Williams and his wife, Josephine Chidsey Williams, provided the funding for the Williams Center for the Arts, which opened in 1983. Natives of Easton, they were long-time supporters of civic and cultural life in the city. Their children, Charles K. Williams II and Joan Williams Rhame, an emerita trustee, provided major support for the Williams Visual Arts Building.
The arts campus project reflects Lafayette’s commitment to make programs in the creative arts an essential feature of the College and ensure that they are known for their outstanding quality, presence, and relevance to both the campus and larger community. It also advances the collaborative efforts of Lafayette and Easton to improve a highly traveled and visible entranceway to the College, the city, and the commonwealth.