SUNY Potsdam will use $3 million in state funds for larger rehearsal spaces
Tuesday, June 24, 2014 - 2:33 pm

POTSDAM -- SUNY Potsdam will receive $3 million in state capital funding to make improvements to its legendary Crane School of Music.

The money would be used to increase rehearsal spaces that are now deemed too small for the number of musicians in large ensembles that use them.

The National Association of Schools of Music reported after a recent visit that the largest ensembles are producing a sound in these rooms that exceeds recommended guidelines for noise, and current building codes do not allow such large groups in these spaces, according to a press release from state Sen. Joe Griffo (R-Rome).

Griffo represents the 47th Senate District, which includes Potsdam in a swath down central St. Lawrence County from Massena to Clifton and Fine.

“The Crane School is home of the oldest music education program in the country, and its reputation is unparalleled among serious musical performers,” said Griffo, who announced the funding. “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. I advocated for this funding in the Senate, and I’m pleased to be able to announce this award today.”

“We are most thankful to Senator Griffo for his continued support of SUNY Potsdam, in particular of our students. He has been a strong advocate for the college over the years, as we continue to partner to provide important outreach programs to all ages in our region,” said SUNY Potsdam Interim President Dennis Hefner.

The Crane Music Center has several rehearsal spaces, but its largest rooms range from 900 to 1,500 square feet. These areas were originally designed to accommodate 45 to 60 people and their equipment. However, the school’s biggest ensembles have grown to between 80 and 120 students.

With the money, SUNY Potsdam intends to build an addition on the south side of Bishop Hall that would contain two large rehearsal spaces. These rooms will accommodate the bigger ensembles and provide more flexibility for performers, which will alleviate the need for constant setting up and tearing down of sets, risers and other equipment, while also addressing the health and safety issues of their performance students, the press release from Griffo’s office said.