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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Band marches toward new home

Photo By: Cody Franklin
Renderings (left)show the planned $40 million Music Activities Center that will replace the E.V. Adams Band Hall (above).
Photo By: Cody Franklin Renderings (left)show the planned $40 million Music Activities Center that will replace the E.V. Adams Band Hall (above).

To keep pace with size increases in the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band and other music programs on campus, university officials are seeking donations to update the long-outdated and hazardous E.V. Adams Band Hall.
Brig. Gen. Joe Ramirez Jr., commandant of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets, said a $40 million Music Activities Center will replace E.V. Adams.
“We’ve got a commitment from the university of $20 million, so what we’re doing now is looking at trying to find major donors who would be willing to contribute that kind of money to allow us to name the building in their honor,” Ramirez said.
Timothy Rhea, director of Bands and Performing Ensembles, said E.V. Adams was built at a time when the Texas A&M music program was smaller, but said the facility was too small even then. He said about 250 students used the hall when it first opened in 1970, while today roughly 1,000 students use the facility.
“The fire marshal gave the building a maximum capacity of around 200 people,” Rhea said. “Well, they broke that number the day the doors opened in 1970.”
Ramirez said the Aggie Band is not allowed to practice in E.V. Adams primarily due to safety concerns.
“It’s an old building, and has become unsafe to use,” Ramirez said. “It has no fire alarms, no sprinklers, not enough exits and it’s acoustically unsafe. It would be negligent of us to allow the Aggie Band to practice in it.”
The new facility would include three rehearsal halls, one of which will hold 400 people, more than the maximum capacity of the entire E.V. Adams building, as well as several individual rehearsal rooms where students can practice their instruments in a soundproof environment.
The current grass drill field will be replaced by turf to prevent divots and allow practice to take place even in harsh weather conditions.
“It’s going to be a state-of-the-art facility to accommodate all music programs,” Ramirez said. “We hope to have the construction started around 2017 or 2018, around the time the Quad renovations are supposed to be complete.”
Ramirez said the discussion to build a new facility has been ongoing for the last 20 years, since it has become clear that the current band hall is increasingly inadequate.
“There are other organizations that use it — the symphonic band, concert band, the Aggieland Orchestra,” Ramirez said. “They all can still use it because they’re not that big, but even they are growing organizations. So that’s kind of what prompted the discussion about building a new facility. We’re now at a point where, with the size of the music program, it’s truly unsafe to put them in there.”
Rhea said, in addition to issues of safety, the current building has limited accessibility for music students.
“The current building has access Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.,” Rhea said. “There are hardly any storage compartments for students to keep their instruments, and there’s no access to anything after 5, so it really restricts their schedules. And currently, everyone shares the rehearsal hall. Organizations rotate from about 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. almost daily.”
Mary Godwin, infantry band sergeant major and philosophy junior, said the last time the Aggie Band practiced in E.V. Adams was Fall 2012.
“The last time the Aggie Band practiced in E.V. Adams was my freshman year, and we were shoulder to shoulder,” Godwin said. “And when we march, you can literally see the grid patterns of our marching in the divots. It’s about time they built a new building.”
Rhea said the idea of the new center is a matter of giving students the facility they deserve.
“When you hear our band play, you wouldn’t ever guess that they practice in conditions like this,” Rhea said.

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