After a year and a half of construction and an expenditure of approximately $9 million, the John Maloy Long Hall has now reopened. The building, designed to be the home for the music and dance departments, replaces the original band hall that was built in honor of former director of bands John M. Long in 1976.
The original structure was torn down in July 2012 to make room for the new 30,500 square foot. structure that is located between the dining hall and Smith Hall.
“The old building did not fit our needs. It was too outdated,” said Mark Walker, director of bands for the School of Music. Walker explained that the new building comes as a vast improvement compared to the old one which was not big enough nor had enough storage area while the new hall comes with the amenities of a large band room, a band storage facility, a choir room, dance studios, soundproof practice rooms, and administrative and faculty offices.
“For the first time we have all the rehearsal space – for the band, the choir and dance – under one roof,” Walker said.
“It gives us a more appropriate learning environment,” Chelsea Strength, a freshman music education major from Chelsea, said. “It’s huge and well designed. Before this, whenever a band class met, it was in the old dining hall. It’s nice to have our own facility,” Strength said.
According to Walker, the decision to reconstruct the entire building instead of renovating it was based on cost. “A new facilitated building was also a necessity for us to maintain accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Music,” he said.
In an effort to preserve the legacy of the old Long Hall, its bricks are available for acquisition in return for donations, proceeds of which go to the School of Music.
Although the new structure is still getting finishing touches, with final furnishing and interior construction still going on, several rehearsals, conducting and music education classes have already begun with the students taking full advantage of the availability of more private practice areas.
“We finally have enough space for percussions,” said Matthew Bowling, a senior computer science major and member of Sound of the South from Defuniak Springs, Fla.
Bowling added that having a rehearsal space of your own is much more productive compared to everyone practicing in one big hall, as they had to do for a year and half in Stewart Hall while the new Long Hall was under construction.
“It is a 200 percent improvement from the old space because of the windows, the double sprung floors, permanent marley floors, the close locker rooms, the ice machine, the sound proofing and privacy, the extra mirrors, the bars on the wall, and the possibility of holding small shows in it, none of which we had before,” said Sabrina Stone, a senior psychology major and member of the Troy Dance Repertory Ensemble from Phoenix City.
“It does meet the needs of the new dance major, not only by giving us another much needed space, but also by providing a completely professional state of the art space.”
Billy Gordie, a senior music education major from Columbia, said that the building is very high-tech and inviting and can work as a plus for recruitment of new students. “It shows that the university actually cares about the School of Music,” he said.
“People are going to be knocked out when they see it,” Walker said.