Problems resurface with Fine Arts Building

According to the Director of Physical Planning and Construction Services David Moore “most users are very happy” with the Fine Arts Building at Cerritos College. However, instructors in the Fine Arts’ ceramics program expressed that some issues should be addressed in order to improve conditions with the room’s equipment and design.

Various issues have been brought up within the program’s ceramic studio and courtyard which highlight the dissatisfaction with the building.

These issues range from acoustics to lighting issues within the room making instruction difficult.

As well as an inefficient dust collection system and technical issues with the kilns, which require additional measures to ensure a safer working environment.

The ceramics department uses its kilns to burn, bake or dry clay into pottery pieces. Being able to form ceramic pieces is part of the ceramics program’s curriculum.

Moore said, “As far as I know they’re operable and [the faculty are] able to use them. I don’t believe there’s any sort of hazard.”

Director and Curator of the Cerritos College Art Gallery James MacDevitt elaborated on the issue with the kilns saying, “My understanding is that the kilns were somehow misaligned with the flukes on the top. When the kilns are actually being fired up they pump out so much heat that they actually make the whole area uninhabitable.”

The kilns were placed in the ceramics courtyard, which is an outside area and has passive ventilation according to Moore. However, he admitted that “there is an opportunity to improve the air circulation.”

MacDevitt continued saying, “It’s unhealthy because it can get up to 115 degrees.”

Steven Portigal, head of the ceramics program, said that he has tried to have the issues resolved.

Portigal explained that he is retiring by the end of the semester and would like to leave having had the issues resolved.

However, with the end of the semester soon approaching, he doesn’t expect the issues to be resolved. Portigal said he has taken others on a tour of the facility and told them “these things have to change.”

Moore said that investigations into the kilns’ exhaust systems have been made, but that he thinks they are safe as the department has been using the kilns for over a year.

Portigal said that he believes the responsibility to correct the many issues lie with the architects and that the Fine Arts Building was a new experience for the company. “This was a learning experience for them however there is no next time with the building.”

Portigal concluded by saying, “If you talk to the painting faculty, if you talk to James [MacDevitt] and the gallery, [they] would all have a similar list of things that didn’t go right.”