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During the winter board retreat in January of 2019, the trustees of Lycoming College toured campus to evaluate the institution’s facilities and identify priorities for capital improvements and renovations. The results of that evaluation have already resulted in significant renovations to two wings of the Academic Center and plans to renovate the Heim Science Building over the next several years. Also identified as an institutional priority was the need for better facilities for the College’s music program.
Lycoming has a rich history of music, not just as an academic major or minor, but also as a beloved co-curricular activity for students studying a myriad of academic programs. Every year, more than 200 students engage in music making on campus through their participation in choir, band, orchestra, chamber groups, small ensembles, private lessons, and recitals.
Clarke Chapel is one of Lycoming’s most iconic and historic buildings and still functions well for worship services, musical performances, and guest speakers. However, the classrooms, practice rooms, faculty office spaces, and comfort facilities below the sanctuary are no longer adequate, nor accessible, for a first rate music program and its students.
After studying several different options for renovating Clarke Chapel or renovating other existing buildings, the board of trustees decided the best and most cost-effective option would be to construct a new building. Again, after additional study and evaluation of various options, the trustees endorsed a plan to construct a new music building on the southeast corner of campus connected to the Welch Honors Hall on the corner of Fourth and Basin Streets. The building will house a signature rehearsal and recital space, classrooms, soundproof practice rooms, and offices for music faculty. Exterior renderings of what the building may ultimately look like are being prepared by an architectural firm.
At the May 2020 board retreat, President Kent Trachte announced two seven-figure commitments to the project by generous alumni who believe in the transformative power of music, both as an academic discipline and performing art. These commitments led the board to affirm its endorsement of the project and to direct the administration to move forward with the design work for the building and to pursue additional philanthropy. Updated exterior renderings and drawings of interior spaces will be available later this summer.