Officials of the University of the Philippines (UP) System, the UP Diliman, the College of Arts and Letters (CAL), the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and contractors, faculty, staff, and guests witnessed the ceremonial groundbreaking for the new CAL Building on December 2, 2021.
Once completed and functional, the building will serve as the new home of the CAL faculty, staff, and students. A fire gutted down Bulwagang Rizal (Faculty Center), the old CAL building, in 2016. The 10-story building, with a basement, two-level mezzanine, and roof deck, will be built beside the Vargas Museum and along TM Kalaw Street in the UP Diliman campus.
Leading the ceremony were UP President Danilo L. Concepcion, UP Diliman Chancellor Fidel R. Nemenzo, CAL Dean Jimmuel C. Naval, Prof. Amihan Bonifacio-Ramolete (former CAL Dean), DPWH Asec. Eric A. Ayapana, and DPWH – National Capital Region Regional Director Nomer P. Canlas, who buried the time capsule and delivered messages during the program.
In his speech, UP Pres. Concepcion highlighted the importance of having a new home for the CAL. He thanked Senator Francis “Chiz” G. Escudero and DPWH Secretary Mark A. Villar for fully supporting and allocating funds for the planned construction during their respective terms of office. Concepcion also said the CAL Building, if completed on time and according to UP’s specifications, can serve as the contractors’ legacy project.
DPWH Director Canlas assured that the building, costing more than PhP556M, will be finished on time from this year until 2024. CAL Dean Naval expressed gratitude for this home-to-be of the University’s poets, writers, academics, and artists.
The new CAL Building will showcase modern classrooms, writing laboratories, and audio rooms. A new mini-theatre will enable CAL’s resident artists to feature experimental and mainstream plays and films. The building will also have a triangular plaza with public performances and activities. It will also have spaces, such as lounges and the wellness room, where faculty and students can freely exchange ideas, engage in discourses, and relax in an environment conducive to learning. CAL students will also have their own Activity Center for organizational and inter-organizational meetings and activities.
Paul Alexander Morales, former artistic director of Ballet Philippines, filmmaker, and playwright, performed one of his creative works titled “Timothy’s Project.” Prof. Jovy M. Peregrino of the CAL’s Department of Speech Communication and Theater Arts served as emcee.
The historic event was live-streamed by TVUP, UP’s Internet TV Network.