Robinson Building lobby gets facelift
Visitors to the H.F. Robinson Administration Building now will be greeted by an attractive new lobby area and an exhibition of artwork after the completion of a summer renovation project that has transformed a rundown entrance hall into an elegant extension of the university’s Fine Art Museum.
Gone are stained carpeting, dingy walls and outdated photographs, replaced by new flooring and fresh paint. Bright gallery-style lighting illuminates works of art hanging on the walls and displayed on covered pedestals throughout the lobby area.
Members of the campus community gathered Monday, July 23, to commemorate the official opening of the renovated space.
“Have you ever seen such a quick transformation? This is now a beautiful space. We’re the people who live here, and we will get to see and enjoy it every single day,” said Chancellor David O. Belcher in remarks during a brief dedication ceremony.
“This creates a more professional entrance to this building, something that speaks to the excellence for which we all stand,” Belcher said.
Under the supervision of Dianne Lynch, WCU chief of staff, the university also used the renovation project as a way to increase the visibility of its arts programs.
“By pulling in the arts, we also make this an academic space,” Belcher said. “Doing so sends a strong message to visitors to our university that we put academics first.”
Works currently on display in the lobby were selected in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the U.S. studio glass movement. The exhibit features a selection of vitreographs (prints made from glass) from the Fine Art Museum’s permanent collection. Also on display in the lobby is a selection of glass sculpture from the Collection of the Chancellor’s Office, originally begun by the building’s namesake, Chancellor H.F. Robinson, during his tenure between 1974 and 1984.
The exhibit is in conjunction with the upcoming statewide exhibition North Carolina Glass 2012, featuring contemporary glass artists from throughout North Carolina, to open at the WCU Fine Art Museum in October.
Artwork in the lobby will remain on display for about a year, and will be replaced on a rotating basis by other works from the museum’s permanent collection.
During the July 23 dedication ceremony, Belcher thanked many members of the WCU family for their role in making the renovation project a reality – Lynch; Galen May, university architect; Robert Kehrberg, dean of the College of Fine and Performing Arts; and Denise Drury, Kevin Kirkpatrick and Greg McPherson of the Fine Art Museum staff. He saved his largest accolades for workers from the Division of Facilities Management, who completed the bulk of the work on the project.
“This speaks to the incredible talent that we have on our Facilities Management team,” Belcher said. “They do a remarkable job. I am always blown away by the work that our people do. It is always first-rate, by any stretch of the imagination.”