Local Community Engagement
In historic cities like Providence, universities often look at new facilities projects through the lens of serving the academic and research needs of students and faculty while also contributing to the cultural and economic vitality of the surrounding community. Brown balances this with our dedication to being a good community partner and neighbor.
Ensuring ample opportunities for community feedback has been a part of PAC planning from the project’s early stages. In Fall 2017, Brown collected input from local Providence community members for an Institutional Master Plan (IMP) amendment outlining PAC details. That process included public meetings, conversations with local community groups and presentation to the Providence City Plan Commission.
During the months-long process, common concerns focused on preserving historic buildings, maintaining the character of the neighborhood and planning for traffic and parking impacts. As a result, Brown secured approval on a revised building site that simultaneously enabled the University to achieve its academic goals and address the concerns expressed by community members.
In addition to engagement with city planners and public meetings open to all community members, a number of local organizations have contributed input during the process. Those include, among others: the Providence Preservation Society, the College Hill Neighborhood Association and the Thayer Street District Management Authority.
Ultimately, the PAC will serve as an asset to the local community with a wide variety of performances and cultural events open to the public throughout the year.
To maximize collaboration in support of a building that advances Brown’s vision for the performing arts, the University is employing integrated project delivery (IPD) for the PAC. Through this approach, the University, architect, contractors and subcontractors work together through all phases of the project, resulting in an effective, efficient and highly collaborative planning, design and building process.
From the start, a wide variety of on-campus stakeholders have informed plans for the new building through ongoing dialogue and conversation. One exercise with arts students, faculty and staff plotted an entire year of programming and performances for the new building. Other opportunities for stakeholder input included town hall meetings hosted by the Brown Arts Initiative, student focus groups, working groups for A/V needs and more.
The University has also worked with departments on campus with the potential to be affected by PAC construction, given close proximity to the approved site. Examples include: researchers who use laboratory space in Brown’s BioMedical Center and Sidney E. Frank Hall for Life Sciences, two facilities that are directly adjacent to the site; and the Department of History, which has faculty and staff offices in Sharpe House, a building since relocated to enable the site for development and simultaneously unify the department.