Cal Lutheran University plans new art complex

The studio arts program at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, Calif., includes courses in painting. Photo courtesy of Cal Lutheran/Brian Stethem

California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks has taken the first steps toward building a new, art center with a commitment of at least $8 million in contributions and matching funds.

Over the weekend, the university's board of regents voted to spend $300,0o0 on design and planning for the new project. The complex will include offices and art studios in about 25,000 to 30,000 square feet of space.

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The center will be the new home for the school's art department, which is currently spread out across the campus. 

"The facilities that they're in now are really not optimal," said Karin Grennan, the media relations manager for the university. 

The school offers instruction in studio arts, design and commercial art, digital art and art history. 

Grennan said the new project will add to the university's recent art initiatives: in 2012, the faculty members launched an art conference that's attracted international interest. Two conferences have been held so far and the next one will take place in November. The university is also raising funds to build a new performing art center on campus. 

Art collector and real estate developer William Rolland pledged up to $4 million toward the art center project, an amount the university will match. 

Rolland has previously donated money to the university, including contributions for the football stadium and art gallery. Rolland spent several decades as a real estate developer in Ventura County, and once lived in Thousand Oaks.