JBU Board of Trustees Approves New Facility for Art and Engineering Students

The John Brown University Board of Trustees approved construction of the Peer-Andrus Studio and Project Barn to provide studio and project space for art and engineering students. The new building is named after Charles Peer, professor of visual arts, and Dave Andrus, professor of visual arts and department head, who together founded JBU’s Visual Arts program in 1990. In the last 27 years, Visual Arts has grown to be the largest JBU program with 8 full-time faculty and 219 students.

JBU received a $2 million grant from the Windgate Foundation to fund the art studio portion of the new facility. The board approved a $3.25 million total project cost to incorporate engineering project space and a maintenance endowment. The building is the newest initiative of JBU’s $125 million Campaign for the Next Century.

“We have fantastic facilities now, but the missing piece has been studio space,” Andrus said. “We use every square foot for classrooms and labs, and there is no room left for making art. This new studio barn will provide much-needed room for students and faculty to work in almost any media from photography and cinema, to drawing and painting, woodworking and 3D work.”

Construction of the 16,800 sq. ft. facility is expected to begin in winter 2017 and be completed by summer 2018. The pre-engineered metal building will be divided into two sections with separate workspaces for engineering and art students. The facility will include a space for commercial photography and video shoots, a wood shop and three large project areas for art students; one large project area with 17 flexible workstations for engineering students; and a shared common entrance with offices and restrooms.

“Art and engineering are two of our largest programs at JBU. This project will enable us to match the growth of these programs, expand our students’ hands-on education opportunities and enable our faculty to engage in more project-based teaching,” said Dr. Chip Pollard, JBU president. “We are deeply grateful to the Windgate Foundation for its gift to support the art studios in the building, and we look forward to receiving gifts to fund the engineering project space. I am also so pleased that we can honor Charles Peer and Dave Andrus in this project, for they have devoted their careers to JBU students and have grown JBU’s visual art department into a nationally-recognized program.”

The studio will be located on JBU’s main campus on the north side of Broadhurst Road across from JBU’s Health Education Building.

The project is part of JBU’s $125 million Campaign for the Next Century, which is scheduled for completion in 2019 during the university’s centennial. The campaign has five priorities: endowment and annual scholarships ($35 million), estate gifts for scholarships and program endowment ($25 million), endowment for academic excellence ($10 million), new and renovated facilities ($30 million), and program support ($25 million). With this gift, JBU has received over $115 million in gifts and pledges toward its $125 million goal.

For more information on the project, visit jbu.edu/nextcentury.

John Brown University is a leading private Christian university, training students to honor God and serve others since 1919. Arkansas’ top ranked regional university (U.S. News Best Colleges, 2018), JBU enrolls more than 2,500 students from 41 states and 50 countries in its traditional undergraduate, graduate, online and concurrent education programs. JBU offers more than 40 majors, with top programs including business administration, graphic design, engineering, construction management, counseling, teacher education and nursing.