Artis Center for Adaptive Innovation and Creativity named as project moves forward
At a special ceremony held on May 25, 2021, Radford University administrators and supporters officially broke ground on the Artis Center for Adaptive Innovation and Creativity, a state-of-the-art complex that will serve as a blended teaching and learning space for the arts and health sciences.
The center is named for alumna Nancy Eisenhart Artis ’73 and her husband H. Pat Artis, Ph.D., who gifted the University $6 million to support scholarships in the Waldron College of Health and Human Services and the College of Visual and Performing Arts, as well as programmatic and student support in the Department of Athletics.
“Today, the commitment and generosity of Nancy and Pat Artis takes yet another bold step forward,” said President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D.
The Artises founded and owned Performance Associates, Inc., a Pagosa Springs, Colorado-based company focused on performance and replication for enterprise storage subsystems. As longtime supporters of the University, they also gifted $5 million in 2017 to establish the Artis Endowed Scholarship Fund. In appreciation, the Artis College of Science and Technology was named in their honor.
Following the most recent announcement of the naming of the Artis Center for Adaptive Innovation and Creativity, the Artises credited their fathers, Harry P. Artis and Harry W. “Hap” Eisenhart, for investing in them through education.
During the May 25, 2021 event, Nancy shared, “Like so many other young men, they set aside their personal dreams, ambitions, and goals of education to answer their nation’s call to fight in World War II. Both of these men faced combat in the Pacific as naval aviation machinist mates. Surviving, they returned to lives of service, raised families and instilled their children with a thirst for education. The only investment either of these men ever made was for the education of their children - the first generations to attend college.”
To celebrate the Artis and Eisenhart family legacy of providing access and opportunity for others, the Artises joined President Hemphill, Board of Visitors members, local and state representatives and dozens of others at the afternoon ceremony in the Covington Center to commemorate the project — the largest capital investment in the history of Radford University.
“In recent years, under President Hemphill’s leadership, there have been many achievements and advancements. In turn, the level of support for this University has grown significantly at both local and regional levels,” said Board of Visitors member Mark S. Lawrence. “One clear example of that support is the project that we are all gathered here to celebrate today.”
The Artis Center at $101 million and 178,000 square feet will support the evolving needs of many academic programs and inspire increased collaboration among students and faculty from across disciplines. Once completed in late 2023, the multi-story building will be the largest academic building on campus. It will replace existing space for the College of Visual and Performing Arts, specifically McGuffey and Porterfield Halls, and create blended student spaces serving the Waldron College of Health and Human Services and the Artis College of Science and Technology.
“The Artis Center for Adaptive Innovation and Creativity will be a game-changer for our faculty, our students and for the disciplines we are so deeply committed to,” said Margaret Devaney, dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts.
Paul Lund, principal of Hord Coplan Macht, Inc., the design firm selected for the Artis Center, called the project “creative and unique” and “one of the most innovative projects in the region.”
“It will be a building that breaks down silos,” Lund said. “It will be a building where artists work with health professionals. It will be a building that the general student population will come to learn in its classrooms. You will see dancers dancing. You will see painters painting. You will see the health clinic healing and working with autistic children. It will be amazing.”
Demolition of Porterfield Hall, both East and West, and McGuffey Hall will begin in June. Construction of the Artis Center is scheduled for substantial completion in December 2023 with move-in beginning during the spring and summer months of 2024.
Classes are anticipated to be held in the new facility beginning with the Fall 2024 semester.