The newly refurbished Santa Monica College (SMC) Madison Music & Performing Arts Campus opened its doors to students Monday, August 27th, after being out of service since 2005 for revamping.

It will be the new home for SMC music students, the Music Department and department faculty, who have spent most of August relocating from the main campus.

There will be an Open House to showcase the campus from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, September 9th. All are welcome to attend.

The Open House will feature a wide range of student and faculty musical presentations, starting on the hour and the half hour, including performances by the SMC Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band and Jazz Vocal Ensemble.

The Madison campus, on Santa Monica Boulevard at 11th Street, will offer more space for the Music Department and new state-of-the-art classrooms and practice rooms.

“We’ve got much more space here,” says Music Department chair Jim Smith. “It’s going to be a great place.”

Rhoda Tuit, a piano teacher at SMC, agrees.

“I think it’s going to be really, really nice,” Tuit says. “It seems very peaceful. It’s off the main campus so it’s a lot more calm.”

Still, being off the main campus will take some adjustment, Tuit said.

Approximately 85 percent of the music classes have moved to the new Madison campus, although a handful of music courses will still be offered at the main campus. A few general education classes are also being offered at the Madison campus.

And with the move to the Madison campus, the Music Department is “upgrading,” Smith says.

“We have a whole new practice wing,” he says. “We have a new piano lab. The new site also has a whole array of new equipment and ‘smart’ classrooms. Lots of things are going to be really good.”

The newly remodeled campus features 27 air-conditioned soundproof practice rooms with pianos, a music media lab, a “black box” performing and rehearsing space, storage rooms and ten classrooms, five of which are “smart” and have multimedia setups.

“It’s exciting,” says Tuit.

The campus also has a small bookstore, which will be open limited hours at the beginning and end of each semester.

Additionally, the 4,000-square-foot Pete and Susan Barrett Art Gallery has reopened at the Madison campus, after having been temporary relocated since 2005.

Free parking is available on the campus.

“There’s free parking and lots of it,” says Smith. “We just drive right in,” which is a change from the main campus, where parking is more difficult to find.

Construction continues on the 541-seat Madison Theater, which is connected to the Madison Campus and is expected to be completed by the end of this year, with a grand opening in May 2008.

“The theater will be really, really wonderful for the students to perform in when it’s finished next spring,” says Tuit.

In the meantime, the Madison campus is up and running.

“It’s going to be a great place,” says Smith.

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