May 9, 2019
Dear College Community,
There are five million reasons to be grateful! Davis & Elkins College recently announced a very generous gift from June Myles, a member of our Board of Trustees, to provide expansion to the Myles Center for the Arts and renovation of the plaza in front of the Center. This $5 million project that will result in an elegant cultural center continues the upgrades across the campus as deferred maintenance is addressed and new construction gets underway.
The new project will add a two-story 5,300-square-foot glass-enclosed addition onto the front of the Myles Center. There will also be a striking stone rotunda that will become the primary entrance and repeat the rotunda on the Madden Student Center. This two-story glass addition will extend The Joni and Buck Smith Arts Forum to approximately twice its present size, while significantly enhancing the aesthetics of the Myles Center. Campus functions, as well as community events, will have access to this large and elegant space with a 350-plus seating capacity for dinners and other functions. An elevator will also be added to the building for all three floors to greatly improve accessibility. Additional restrooms and a warming kitchen for catering functions are also in the plans.
Included within June's gift is a complete renovation of the plaza. The new plaza will feature curvilinear lines, and a combination of walking paths and soft grassy surfaces, landscaping and conversation areas. An outdoor classroom will also adorn the space. A central feature of the new plaza will be a sculpture June has commissioned tentatively titled "The Dancers." Standing 10 feet high and bronzed, this featured young couple are in motion and invite those passing by to join them in dance. The new sculpture is destined to be an iconic spot on the D&E campus.
Dedicated in 2012, Myles Center for the Arts has received a series of upgrades over the past seven years, thanks in large part to Ms. Myles' generosity. The facility, with its 1,100-seat Harper-McNeeley Auditorium, serves the community and the region as the largest performance venue in the area. From classical performances by the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra to popular concerts by America and The Oak Ridge Boys, Harper-McNeeley Auditorium has showcased some of the best music in the area. During the summer, the Auditorium comes alive with the exciting sounds of the Augusta Heritage Center's Concert Series, the College's internationally recognized center for traditional arts and music. Myles Center for the Arts also houses The Joni and Buck Smith Arts Forum, the Creative Arts Department and the Paull Gallery, among other spaces. The entire facility is heavily used by both the campus community and the Randolph County community-at-large.
Construction will begin in early September and take approximately 12 months to complete. The result will be worth the wait, as both Davis & Elkins College and the Randolph County community benefit from June Myles' generous heart and lifelong love of art.
The journey continues.......