Renovations To Continue

Published 7:00 pm Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Mississippi School of the Arts hasreceived $113,207 from the Mississippi Department of Archives andHistory to renovate the interior of Elizabeth College.

    The cottage is currently undergoing exterior renovations with grantmoney MSA received from MDAH last year.

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    Suzanne Hirsch, MSA executive director, said the school hopes touse the space for many different purposes, including as a costumeshop, artist quarters for visiting artists, a reception area and aplace for the literary program to have a writing retreat.

    She said school officials would complete the paper work and receivethe money in February. Although the details are not complete andthe timeline has not been finished, Hirsch said the architectestimates the renovations will easily be completed in six monthsafter work begins.

    The money comes with a stipulation that 25 percent of it is raisedby the recipient. Hirsch said while the MSA Foundation does haveenough money set aside to fulfill the requirement, they areactively seeking donations because once the building is completed,the foundation will need money to furnish the building.

    She said it was necessary for the cottage to begin renovationbecause, if left alone, it would continue to deteriorate beyondrepair.

    “As a campus on the National Register of Historic Places, it’s ourduty to keep those buildings moving in the right direction,” Hirschsaid.

    Right now, MSA is at maximum capacity, and the renovation ofElizabeth cottage will help with that. Hirsch said the renovationsof the building along with others and a second dorm would help theschool expand to the two remaining arts disciplines.

    The cottage was built in 1913 and was originally used as thepresident’s home.

    “It was meant to be the heartbeat of the campus for the presidentand his family, so they were always a part of the school,” Hirschsaid.

    Hirsch also said being on the old Whitworth College campus asopposed to a newer campus gives a different feeling.

    “If you walk through Johnson (Institute), you feel a presence,” shesaid.

    Hirsch said it is interesting to see the difference in thecontemporary art being created in such a historic place, and thehistory of the buildings influences students’ work.

    “It’s not just a space for them,” she said. “It becomes ahome.”