New details emerge about UD’s proposed arts center

New renderings of a long-proposed University of Dayton Center for the Arts show a one-story building that will house a concert hall, galleries and other studios.

The university recently submitted plans to Dayton’s plan board as the school seeks to change a few conditions of its general development plan proposed in 2019. UD continues to plan and raise funds for the new arts center, but the project and construction timeline have not been approved by the school’s board of trustees.

“The University of Dayton has long wanted to build a facility dedicated to providing our students with a first-rate gallery, studio and performance space,” the university said in a statement. “The arts help foster creativity, critical thinking, cultural competency and community engagement.”

In late 2019, the Dayton Plan Board approved an amendment to UD’s general development plan to allow a new center for the arts facility to be constructed at the corner of South Main and East Stewart streets.

The center for the arts was originally included in UD’s 2008 general development plan but at that time it was proposed for the corner of Brown and K streets, according to Plan Board documents.

The proposed center will be one story and have about 51,000 square feet of space.

The center is expected to have a concert hall with platform performance area, an experimental black-box theater, a TV studio, art gallery and an audio production lab and studio, according to plans submitted to the city.

New renderings and site plans submitted to the city this year show the facility taking up about two-thirds of a large grassy property south of East Stewart Street.

A band practice field that acts as an “outdoor classroom” will remain.

The plan board added four conditions when it approved UD’s general development plan amendment. They included preserving four existing Ginko trees, restricting vehicular access on Stewart Street and adding a sidewalk on the eastern side of the property.

UD plans to add a sidewalk east of the building and proposes creating a curb cut on Stewart Street, according to a letter to the city’s zoning department from Todd Wales, senior landscape architect with the Kleingers Group.

But the entry point on Stewart Street only will be for emergency vehicles and larger “non-public” delivery vehicles, and public access could be blocked with removable bollards or something similar, he said.

Five large Ginko trees will not survive the construction process, Wales wrote, and seven other trees also will need to be removed.

But he said UD proposes replacing these trees with 57 native and adaptive trees that will enhance the streetscape for decades to come.

Some people who live near UD’s campus, like Jim Wahl, say they support the project and hope it will help make Stewart Street a more active corridor.

University officials said the school consulted with local arts groups to ensure a new arts facility would complement rather than compete with existing venues and programming.

About the Author