Displaced professors eager to see renovation done

Cassandra McGowan, Reporter

As the construction at the Speech, Arts, and Music building makes progress, the Performing Arts Department is becoming increasingly anxious to get back to their old home.

The remodeling of the SAM building has forced the movement of all the classes that used to take place in there. This has caused a lot of stress on the students as well as instructors that used to conduct class in the building.

Bakersfield College’s concert band instructor, Tim Heasley, who has been at BC since Spring 2008 said that he had a few years in the SAM building before they were forced to pack up and move saying, “We’ve moved every year since we moved out of there.”  Heasley said the concert band had to use Forum 102 at one point, which has no storage for instruments and the students had to sit because there is no standing room.

Heasley said the move was actually a “positive experience” because the band was able to “focus on athletic band material and practice in an athletic stand setting.”  He also said that another positive was that the concert band has formed a close bond with the athletic department and it really brought the two departments closer together.  “It was a really good thing,” he said.

The SAM building has been void of classes since 2011 but construction didn’t actually start until April 2013. The instructors and students who will be utilizing it upon completion are excited to see it finally coming to fruition.

Bakersfield College’s Performing Arts department chair, Dr. John Gerhold, is pleased to see the SAM building finally making headway.  He says that while it has been hard to cope with not having all the amenities SAM had to offer, a lot of the equipment was decades old and there were many safety issues.

Gerhold said the displaced department has done a “good job adapting, but it’s been tiri

ng.”  Not being in the SAM building “keeps [students] from achieving maximum success,” said Gerhold.  He hopes to be in the new building by the fall semester of 2014.

The SAM building will also be getting a new name along with its new, polished look.  The new building will don the name SPARC: Simenson Performing Arts Center.

The new name is in memory of Dr. Edward Simenson who was BC’s president from 1958-68 and was then Kern County Community College district’s chancellor from 1968-78.  Simenson was highly involved in the music department and was a part of the Bakersfield Symphony.