Last year, the National Association of Schools of Music reported that the volume of sound that large ensembles produce exceeds the nationally recommended guidelines and building codes for sound in the existing rehearsal spaces.
The music school currently has several designated rehearsal spaces. However, the largest rooms range from 900 to 1,500 square feet in size. These areas were originally designed to accommodate 45 to 60 people and their equipment. In recent years, the school’s biggest ensembles have grown to somewhere between 80 and 120 students.
In addition to violating the nationally recommended noise guidelines, the current building codes at SUNY Potsdam do not allow for accommodating such large groups in those spaces.
Michael R. Sitton, the dean of the music school, told the Ogdensburg Journal that since the school’s ensembles have grown, the ensemble rooms frequently used are now too small for the size of the ensembles, “which will mean new rooms altogether.”
Sitton also said that in recent years, the school has become more focused on hearing health. He said that because the ensemble rooms are too small for the volume of noise that the ensembles produce, the noise could permanently affect the hearing of those who are exposed.
The $3 million will pay for an addition on the south side of Bishop Hall that is expected to contain two large rehearsal spaces. These rooms are expected to accommodate the bigger ensembles and provide more flexibility for performers. This will also alleviate the need for the constant set up and break down of sets, risers and other equipment.
Sen. Griffo commented, “The popularity of the programs offered has caused a need for space, so it’s important from both a safety and health standpoint for the university to meet student needs.”
This big news comes after the completion of the new $55 million Performing Arts Center last January that now resides next to Crane.