The University of Memphis is building a new facility called the Scheidt Family Music Center that will allow musicians to host concerts for students and faculty members to enjoy while showcasing their talents.
John Chiego, Director for the School of Music, said the construction of the new facility will be the single most important change in the school’s history.
“It will ring a world-class facility onto our campus for our world-class music program,” Chiego said. “It has been over 25 years in the making and will allow the School of Music to expand and grow, to better serve and showcase our students.”
Chiego said the new facility will be sized and designed to give students the best acoustical experience while giving future students new spaces to learn.
“For the general student population, the Music Center will provide an extraordinary venue for concerts of all kinds, along with the state-of-the-art classrooms for musical Gen Ed courses,” Chiego said.
The Scheidt Family Music Center will be moved to the edge of the campus north of Central Avenue and anchor the developing Central Avenue Arts Corridor along the street with the Central Avenue parking lot being expanded northwest behind Holiday Inn.
UofM vocal arts area coordinator Kyle Ferrill said he is excited for the upcoming building project which would break new ground.
“We have a terrific School of Music, and with this additional building and all the resources it will contain for our students, the sky is the limit,” Ferrill said.
Ferrill said the future parking situation may cause problems for students but should only be a minor inconvenience.
“I’m confident that the powers that be have an excellent plan in place to ease the transition from the Central parking lot of the past to what it will look like in the future,” Ferrill said.
The music center is expected to be completed by spring 2021.
Musical composition major Morgan Bell said, after hearing about the news as a freshman back in 2013, he is glad that they are finally breaking ground.
“I like that it has a lot of spaces,” Bell said. “There’s going to be one large concert hall, two recording studios, plenty of practice rooms but also they’re splitting up the music students. More recording tech and performance will be in the new building. Everybody else will be in the old building.”
The new facility would benefit the students by having the choice to participate in a third acoustic class as part of the curriculum.
Music composition major Rachel Zaloudek said with the dilapidated acoustics of Rose Theater, a new hall would be in the music department’s best interest.
“We have Harris Hall which is great, but Rose Hall, the acoustics in there are terrible for performing,” Zaloudek said. “The way it’s shaped, the sound doesn’t reverberate. It doesn’t bounce well. It doesn’t make the music sound well. We need a bigger hall.”
Zaloudek said she is concerned but ready for whatever the future holds in the department with the future construction.
“It’s exciting, but it is worrisome,” Zaloudek said. “Because we’re now about to be split up into three, but we don’t know what’s going to happen till it happens.”
The new Music Center will begin construction in late December 2019.