By Matthew Valle

May 8, 2021

BLACKWOOD – Camden County College art and music professors discuss the new changes and what they’re most looking forward to as renovations in Lincoln Hall finish up.

Camden County College’s Lincoln Hall has been under construction since the spring of 2019. With bathrooms straight out of the 1990s and art studios with cracked wooden flooring, the building felt like a misplaced relic in dire need of renovations when compared to the rest of the Blackwood campus.

Side of Lincoln Hall. Photographed by Matthew Valle.

Today, Lincoln Hall has a brand new look, updated to reflect and meet the needs of the students of 2021, not 1990. 

Gregory Brellochs, visual and performing arts chairman and professor at the Blackwood campus, has been following the project closely. 

Brellochs says the biggest changes in Lincoln Hall are the updated, modern appearance with the addition of “digital technology and state-of-the-art facilities.” 

“The whole front of the building has been changed. There is a box-office entrance to the inner lobby of the Dennis Flyer Theatre, flanked by a dean’s suite of offices, a coat room, new bathrooms, and a kiosk for selling concessions during performances and gallery events. This creates a ‘grand entrance’ to the community, outward-facing portion of the building (e.g., Marlin Gallery, Dennis Flyer Theatre, and the Little Theatre),” says Brellochs. 

Brellochs goes on to describe his excitement to begin teaching in the new Lincoln Hall, as well as why the renovations were very much essential.

“I firmly believe that there is a connection between one’s environment and one’s mental state,” explains Brellochs. “Having a clean, modernized, technologically updated facility helps one to feel motivated and enthused, like there is an expectation and standard of excellence to be lived up to. I hope the newly renovated building will help motivate and inspire students. No longer will visual and performing arts students have to feel like the poor, neglected stepchildren of the campus. Instead, they can feel proud to be working in impressive new facilities.”

Camden County College’s Visual Arts Department will now have a digital computer lab, renovated sculpture, drawing and painting studios. The film and television production studio, which was previously located in Truman Hall, can now be found in Lincoln Hall as well.

Back entrance of Lincoln Hall. Photographed by Matthew Valle.

Additions to the Music Department are new, soundproof practice rooms as well as a new digital computer lab for audio production and sound engineering. Individual editing suites have now been added for students to independently work using professional-grade equipment and software. 

Dr. Michael Billingsley, coordinator for music, audio and theater and professor at Camden County College, is beyond excited about these additions for the Music Department.

“The renovations in Lincoln Hall make logistical sense,” says Billingsley. “All of the music and audio classes are now in the same hallway and both theaters are across the hall from one another. If we have students that want to play live to an audience they can move gear right across the hall now. Also, that makes it that much easier for us to record live concerts since our recording equipment is in such close proximity.”

Billingsley also addresses solutions regarding social distancing measures. “In COVID times, it also means we have space where musicians can safely sing together in a session because they’ll be in separately ventilated spaces. On top of all of that, everything just looks great. As you know, that’s a big plus when you arrive at a college. It should look cool and modern. Lincoln Hall now has that going for itself.”

Brellochs says the renovations to Lincoln Hall are essentially complete, save for a few loose ends. An official reopening for the building is unlikely to happen until the campus reopens in the fall semester of 2021.

Renovated entrance to the Dennis Flyer Theatre. Photographed by Matthew Valle.

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