Exciting news coming to campus as renovations for the Mahan building are underway. Mahan is the Center of Art and Interior Design that has many amazing aspects that not many people know about. The renovation is a very exciting project for AC and something that has actually been in the works since 2010. That may seem like a very large gap from the idea and the acting on that idea. However, it was one of the buildings on campus that had planned on being remodeled. The original estimated cost for the remodel was $3.5 million in order to implement the necessary renovations. Thankfully, the school received many donations and gifts specifically for Mahan which brought the estimated cost down to $2.1 million.
Mahan is in the running for the last building on campus to receive any type of updating. It has been in the same structure since it was built in the 1960’s and has all of its original foundations. Though this has been on the top priority list to President Docking, the Development Office, as well as the Board of Trustees, to make adjustments to everything from classrooms, hallways, labs, etc. However, the most important part of the renovation is the student art gallery that is going to be added. So many students work day in and out in that building, creating true masterpieces that deserve recognition by being displayed at one point or another. Not only will this be just a gallery, but there was talk of it also being a potential event area for AC as a whole. As stated, 2010 was a bit ago compared to how the works are happening now in 2022, but that was all thanks to the donors for making it happen.
The bulldogs who study in Mahan are very creative and innovative in their passion for their work. With the remodel, there is no saying what amazing things will come from them with the updated resources at their fingertips. Students benefit the most from this, however, faculty is also gaining with the update to the building they teach in every day. Professor Travis Erxleben is one of the professors who is very excited for the plans of the building as a whole. He started here at AC in September of 2016 and at that time worked as Studio Technician to the Department of Art and Design. He worked as an adjunct professor from the beginning of 2017 and was offered a full time position in 2020. Professor Erxleben teaches courses in Ceramics, Three Dimensional Design, Creative Professional Practices, Senior Studio Capstones, and Art History.
Professor Erxleben shares his feelings on his hopes for the future of Mahan. He discusses his excitement that the renovation will have on recruitment and retention efforts. When asked what he would like the general public to know about the department, he had a great response. Professor Erxleben said, “The Department of Art and Design is not simply a place where students are taught to make beautiful objects and images. We teach students the same lessons that many other programs at the college do but do so through methods that speak to creative minded thinkers. We instill our students with proficiency in creative problem solving as it pertains to multistep processes, professionalism, time/self management, and understanding for discerning and measuring quality. Our students’ experiences in courses are relevant to the experiences that they can expect to have in the workplace after completing their collegiate careers in that we task them to produce real, physical products and/or to demonstrate proficiency in tasks and techniques. This is in contrast to courses in other departments where students are required to memorize information and complete routine written exams. What we do in the Department of Art and Design works great for students who learn through hands-on, tactile practices.”