Portland State’s Neuberger Hall is getting a hefty remodel over the course of the next two years. The most notable change is the addition of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, which is set to occupy the bottom two floors of NH with the intention of making the art museum experience accessible to more people. The remodel will include a lecture and event space and a proposed new study area.
The PSU foundation said that the remodel will address deferred maintenance issues in Neuberger while updating the structure and function of the building. Hacker Architects have created several designs that include much larger exterior windows to bring in more natural light.
The NH renovation was made possible through $60 million in public bonds from the Oregon Legislature and an additional $10 million from philanthropic sources. Project organizers have confirmed that Jordan Schnitzer donated half of the philanthropic amount himself, and as a result the museum will be named after him.
Schnitzer comes from a long line of dedicated art patrons. In addition to other projects at PSU, his mother’s name can most famously be seen at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall just a few blocks north of the PSU campus.
What this means for PSU
The relocation plans for the various administrative departments within the first floor of NH are currently unknown. Such departments include Admissions, Registration and Records, Financial Aid, Degree Requirements and Veteran’s Certification. However, building construction is not scheduled to begin until the upcoming fall term, so there are a few months left to iron out these crucial details.
Hopes for what the art museum will provide
Jordan Schnitzer has said that one stipulation of his gift is that the museum provide rich educational experiences for students and staff at PSU. Schnitzer also hopes that the museum can not only create a learning experience for art majors but work with all PSU deans to help the museum offer broad learning experiences.
Not only will the museum feature national and international artists but will also have a focus on local artists from Portland and the greater Pacific Northwest. Perhaps the most exciting aspect, however, will be the opportunity for students and faculty of PSU to have their work featured in a museum with a more broad, permanent reach than the student art galleries currently on campus.
According to the PSU Foundation’s quick facts sheet about the Neuberger renovation, the museum is supposed to provide “free and accessible art experiences for all.” It is unclear whether that means the museum will just be free, free for students, or operate similarly to the Portland Art Museum, which offers incredibly affordable passes to students at $20 per year.
The construction of the museum has been scheduled to take place through fall 2019.