Radford University breaks ground on Artis Center for Adaptive Innovation and Creativity

New River Valley News

(Photo: Courtesy Radford University)

RADFORD, Va. (WFXR) — During a special Tuesday ceremony, administrators and supporters for Radford University officially broke ground on the Artis Center for Adaptive Innovation and Creativity, the largest capital investment in the university’s history.

In a statement shared on Thursday, May 27, Radford University described the Artis Center as “a state-of-the-art complex that will serve as a blended teaching and learning space for the arts and health sciences.”

According to school officials, the center is named after alumna Nancy Eisenhart Artis ’73 and her husband H. Pat Artis, Ph.D., who gave $6 million to the university to support scholarships in the Waldron College of Health and Human Services and the College of Visual and Performing Arts, as well as programmatic and student support in the Department of Athletics.

“Today, the commitment and generosity of Nancy and Pat Artis takes yet another bold step forward,” said Radford University President Brian O. Hemphill.

The Artises founded and owned Performance Associates, Inc., a company based in Pagosa Springs, Colorado that focuses on enterprise storage subsystems’ performance and replication

As longtime supporters of Radford University, the Artises also donated $5 million to establish the Artis Endowed Scholarship Fund in 2017, after which the Artis College of Science and Technology was named in their honor as a show of appreciation.

Following the naming of the Artis Center for Adaptive Innovation and Creativity, the Artises gave credit to their fathers — Harry P. Artis and Harry W. “Hap” Eisenhart — for investing in them through education.

During the event on Tuesday, May 25, Nancy shared, “Like so many other young men, they set aside their personal dreams, ambitions, and goals of education to answer their nation’s call to fight in World War II. Both of these men faced combat in the Pacific as naval aviation machinist mates. Surviving, they returned to lives of service, raised families and instilled their children with a thirst for education. The only investment either of these men ever made was for the education of their children – the first generations to attend college.”

To celebrate the Artis and Eisenhart family legacy of providing others with access and opportunity, the Artises joined Hemphill, members of the Board of Visitors, local and state representatives, and dozens of others in the Covington Center on Tuesday afternoon to commemorate the project

“In recent years, under President Hemphill’s leadership, there have been many achievements and advancements. In turn, the level of support for this University has grown significantly at both local and regional levels,” said Board of Visitors member Mark S. Lawrence. “One clear example of that support is the project that we are all gathered here to celebrate today.”

At $101 million and 178,000 square feet, the university says the Artis Center will support the evolving needs of many academic programs, as well as inspire increased collaboration among students and faculty of all different disciplines.

Once the multi-story building is finished in late 2023, it will be the largest academic building on campus; replace existing space for the College of Visual and Performing Arts, and create blended student spaces serving the Waldron College of Health and Human Services and the Artis College of Science and Technology.

“The Artis Center for Adaptive Innovation and Creativity will be a game-changer for our faculty, our students and for the disciplines we are so deeply committed to,” said Margaret Devaney, dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

Paul Lund, principal of Hord Coplan Macht, Inc., the design firm selected for the Artis Center, described the project as “creative and unique” and “one of the most innovative projects in the region.”

“It will be a building that breaks down silos,” Lund said. “It will be a building where artists work with health professionals. It will be a building that the general student population will come to learn in its classrooms. You will see dancers dancing. You will see painters painting. You will see the health clinic healing and working with autistic children. It will be amazing.”

School officials says demolition of Porterfield Hall — both East and West — and McGuffey Hall will begin in June.

The construction of the Artis Center is scheduled for substantial completion in December 2023, with move-in starting in spring and summer of 2024 and classes expected to be held in the new facility in the fall 2024 semester.

You can learn more about the Artis Center project — as well as watch a livestream of the construction — by following this link.

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