ASU announces new on-campus museum

West Texas Collection to get new home in Museum

By Travis Hunter
On March 8, 2018

Photo by Axel Marcenaro
Spectators look over the new museum’s artistic rendering. The new 31,000-square-foot facility will cost roughly $14.2 million dollars.

ASU’s president unveiled plans at a March 2 news conference to build an art museum funded by donors.

Dr. Brian May announced that the TTUS Board of Regents in El Paso approved construction of the ASU Museum. The portable buildings at 1825 S. Johnson St. will be sold to make way for the 31,000 square-foot structure.

"This will be the gateway to ASU," May said. "It will be our forefront. It will be our biggest prize out there."

May said the building will have two floors. The first floor will house the West Texas Collection, which is currently in the Houston Harte University Center. The first floor will also feature exhibits and artifacts from all over the world.

The second floor of the museum will allow for the relocation of the ceramics program at ASU, May said. The program is currently off-campus at the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts. Professor of the Visual and Performing Arts Department John Vinklarek said he looks forward to having ceramics back on campus.

"This move will ease student commuting hardships and improve enrollments," Vinklarek said. "We look forward to having a top-notch facility with more opportunities for the display of artwork."

May’s speech took place on the steps of the Mayer Administration Building, named for Solomon Mayer, whose family’s donation made the ASU Museum possible.

May said the donation is the largest gift ever made to ASU. Members of the Mayer family were among the nearly 100 people in attendance for the news conference.

"On behalf of ASU, I want to thank Richard and Betty Mayer for an incredible gift that will live in perpetuity and continue the philanthropic legend of the Mayer family," May said. "The Mayers have made sure that [the museum] is already well-funded. It will be something great, not only for ASU but for all of West Texas to come and enjoy."

Director of Facilities Planning and Construction Cody Guins said construction on the project should begin by the end of 2018.

Guins said discussions for the ASU Museum began a year prior to the announcement. This is the first part of a four-step process before they can break ground.

"The first step is board approval, which we have," Guins said. "The second step is we have to get an architect on board. The third step is the approval of a conceptual design; then we have to get a contractor on board and get the board approval for that."

The $14.2 million building should reach completion by early 2020, Guins said.

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