Moss Performing Arts Center Expansion & Remodels – Colorado Mesa University

Grand Junction, Colorado

The Moss Performing Arts Center is home to CMU’s Music, Dance, and Theatre Pro­gram. The original building was designed by local architect R.A. VanDuesen in the 1960s. In the late 1990s, a recital hall was added, along with major renovations. The two main challenges of designing this addition were to respect the varied design characteristics of the two previously built parts of the building, and to fit it onto a very tight site (0.1 acres).

This 3-story, 14,000 sf expansion adds one large space per floor. The first floor features a full-function production shop for creating sets. The second floor includes the costume shop, and the third floor is dedicated to the dance studio and changing rooms. This space is equipped with a “sprung” floor, a mirrored wall, and two walls of floor-to-ceiling windows which fill the room with natural light and panoramic views.

Three years later we added on again to create a set of music class­rooms, a rehearsal room, and instrument storage. The class­rooms can be opened up into a single room – spacious enough to accommodate the marching band – by retracting an oversized, acoustical operable partition.

At the same time, we remodeled the original building by enclosing a previous garden area surrounded by interior corridors to create a multi-purpose classroom/performance space/pre-function area. The entire front can be opened up by retracting floor-to-ceiling sliding glass walls. Diffused daylight comes through frosted clerestory windows. An underutilized classroom was converted into six individual, sound-isolated practice suites for the music department, and an existing drama practice room was converted into a new office for the Theater Department Head.