Breaking Ground for Music

To drive down East Boulevard is to trace a timeline of modernizations to Cleveland's premier cultural institutions — a line that stops short of the Cleveland Institute of Music.

This month, that line will be extended.

CIM is kicking off a $40 million overhaul, one that not only adds desperately needed space but will also raise the school's physical profile in University Circle and enhance its national reputation.

"For us, it's about remaining competitive," says CIM president David Cerone. "Ours used to be a signature building, one of the few in its day designed for a specific purpose. Now, we've outgrown it. We had 150 students in the '60s. Now, we have almost 400 and they exceed the quality of our facilities."

Architect Charles Young's design calls for a new administrative and classroom wing on Hazel Drive as well as more practice rooms, a larger music library and a bright new lobby within and around the existing 40-year-old concrete-and-glass structure. The most dramatic renovation, though, will be a new 250-seat, acoustically adjustable recital hall flush with windows near the sleek, curved entrance from East Boulevard. Construction could begin as early as March and is scheduled to last 18 months.

"We wanted to make an architectural statement and we will, but I'm really looking forward to a twilight concert in that new hall," Cerone says.

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