Conservatory of Music

From Bach to Broadway

BW Conservatory Expansion and Renovation

On July 1, Baldwin Wallace University broke ground on a major renovation and expansion of its Conservatory of Music facilities.  The project was completed in fall of 2011 and serves the over 300 University music majors who are enrolled in Conservatory academic programs, 2,000 community members who participate in Conservatory Outreach programs, and thousands of audience members who attend concerts and recitals at BW, all in one interconnected facility.  The focus of the project is on programmatic space and provides new and updated rehearsal halls, classrooms, teaching studios and practice rooms. 

Applied Teaching Studio

Small Practice Room

In 2008, Baldwin Wallace University purchased the historic First Congregational United Church of Christ, a facility adjacent to the Conservatory's Merner-Pfeiffer Hall.  The construction project includes complete renovation of the church facility and construction of a new building that will serve as a connector between the church and Merner-Pfeiffer Hall.  The new, four-level connecting building will house a two-story lobby space, practice rooms, rest rooms and elevator access to all levels of the church, new connecting building and Merner-Pfeiffer.  The renovated church and new connecting building are named the Boesel Musical Arts Center in honor of BW trustee Stephen Boesel and his wife Jacquelyn.  The project will also include major renovation of Merner-Pfeiffer Hall and selected renovations of Kulas Hall, the Conservatory's two existing buildings.

In the University's continuing efforts to support sustainability on campus, much of the project is heated and cooled by a geo-thermal system; wells for the new system were completed during the summer of 2010.  The Conservatory project was part of the University's Transforming Lives capital campaign.  Partial funding for the Conservatory project includes grants from the State of Ohio and federal government in the form of historic tax credits.  The church facility, Merner-Pfeiffer Hall and Kulas Musical Arts Building are all listed on the National Register of Historic Places; this designation provides access to state and federal tax credits created to assist in the preservation of historic facilities.  

Plan Highlights

  • Doubling of Conservatory square footage through acquisition of United Church of Christ buildings
  • Creation of dedicated rehearsal spaces for choral, instrumental and percussion ensembles
  • Addition of a new rehearsal space/performance hall
  • Creation of sound-proofed practice rooms and teaching studios
  • Increased number and efficiency of classrooms
  • Expansion of current library facilities
  • Linking of existing buildings, church and new construction into one functioning Conservatory facility
  • Creation of student gathering areas throughout the complex
  • Creation of open and accessible office areas for admission, outreach and administration
  • Establishment of a "front door to the campus" for the Conservatory

Plan Benefits

  • Seamlessly blends historic architecture of United Church of Christ and Baldwin Wallace University together in a building that respects the style and historical significance of each
  • Enables simultaneous use of all performance and rehearsal spaces
  • Encourages impromptu faculty and student interaction through open space and gathering areas
  • New lobby serves as a magnet for visitors into the heart of the Conservatory´┐Ż placing them immediately in the midst of practice and teaching areas of the school.
  • Allows improved access to current music library holdings, as well as room for collection expansion
  • Provides added capacity and scheduling flexibility among studio, practice room, and performance spaces for solo and ensemble musicians
Events were held on October 14 and 15 during a two-day opening celebration.  Friday, October 15 included an 8:00 pm gala concert.   On Saturday, October 16, the Conservatory held a community open house which included performances, open rehearsals, family-friendly activities and refreshments. 

Two-story lobby space in the new connecting building


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