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College classes underway in historic post office buildingTell North Platte what you think
Courtesy Photo­Image
College class in action
Courtesy Photo­Image
An historic photograph of the new Prairie Arts Center.

North Platte Community College art students are benefitting from a year-long renovation to the historic post office building downtown.

The three-story-tall 1913 building at Fifth and Jeffers is steadily evolving into a Prairie Arts Center. The basement of the 100-year-old building is now renovated, creating an area that the college could use for 3-D art classes such as sculpture and pottery.

NPCC students were integral in the first phase of building's renovation.

In December 2012, students in the college’s building construction program, under the direction of Instructor Greg Cudzilo and assisted by members of the Community Unity Arts Council, cleaned the basement, tore down old walls, built steel frames and installed sheet rock on new walls, dividing it into several classrooms.

Work continued throughout the spring and summer, and thanks to college students, staff and volunteers, the basement studio was ready for classes this fall.

The basement is now fully renovated, college art instructor Dik Haneline said. Fresh paint, new heating, ventilation and air conditioning were installed, plus an elevator, restrooms, and walls were added.

"The structure has new wiring and state of the art ‘green’ lighting," Haneline said. "The ‘metal’ studio has a ventilation system and all the rooms have metal cabinets or shelving.”

Haneline said the facility has a hand-building room and a wheel-throwing room that include six wheels and a new pug mill, a machine in which materials are simultaneously ground and mixed with a liquid.

Near the construction rooms is a kiln room with space for four kilns and a drying room. Other studios are designed for woods, metal, and stone and will play integral roles in the “Intro to 3-D” and “Sculpture” courses, according to a college announcement.

This semester, students could take Ceramics I & II at the Prairie Arts Center. Next semester, “Soup Bowl” will be offered on Saturdays in February. A 16-week “Intro to 3-D Design” will also be offered.

On the books for the summer session is “Sculpture I” (six weeks) and “Airbrushing” (also six weeks) out at the south campus of the college.

“One of the huge benefits of having our classes at the PAC is that we can have ceramics set up year round, develop and utilize both a wood and a metal studio for artistic pieces, and be integrated into the arts community,” Haneline said. “This is a fantastic opportunity for students and/or aspiring artists to be in a developing cultural center and interact with established artisans in our community and surrounding area.”

Haneline said as the building is further renovated, "more and more opportunities will be presented to our students.”

“With the Associates of Fine Arts degree being implemented, the facility will see significant use as we meet the needs of our student body," he said.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 11/14/2013
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