Discussions begin on Tyler Hall renovation

Administrators are studying Tyler Hall to make plans for renovations starting next year. Architects will be invited into the building to appraise it and decide which sections need to be updated.

"What’s going to happen is, in Tyler, we have a program study going on to determine what renovations need to be done," said Fritz Messere, interim dean of the school of communication, media, and the arts.

"It’s not the entire building," Messere added. The renovations will only include those areas that need to be brought up to a standard "for modern art and music."

"The program study within the next six months defines everything that will go in," said Tom Simmonds, associate vice president for facilities.

"We haven’t fully defined all the elements that will be there. That’s what the program study is for."

Simmonds added that Tyler was built in 1968 and has only minor renovations since then, but "nothing very significant."

Because there are no set plans for Tyler’s renovations yet, Messere said that most likely there will be no real construction for quite some time, although Michael Flanagan, assistant director of Tyler Art Gallery, said that plans for renovations may begin in the summer.

The remodeling is not expected to affect students, said Messere.

"We’re not going to shut down the building and move people out," he said. "Things will go on and we will renovate a portion of it."

"It doesn’t mean someone will go in there and start moving a wall tomorrow," Simmonds said. Construction likely will not begin until 2013, he said, but "the design is going to start up soon."

The cost of these renovations is still unknown. Tyler must first be appraised by a design consultant before any decisions are made.

Simmonds estimates the cost will likely be somewhere between $16 and $20 million dollars. Because it will be so costly the college needs to "really consider what to change."

The theater will be a main focus of the updates. The School of Communications, Media and the Arts will also have a say in what else gets renovated.

A design consultant has been chosen by the college to help decide what portions of Tyler to fix up, Simmonds said. Pfeiffer Partners, a design firm from New York City, will be taking over the Tyler project. They have a wide background in performing and fine arts planning, and are also working on a similar project at SUNY Potsdam.

However, renovations in the science and education departments on campus will come first, Simmonds said. Those complexes will begin construction this summer and continue for three and a half to four years. Tyler’s improvements will start most likely in 2013 and continue for about two years. These renovations are also coming as a part of a bigger plan for the Hewitt Quad area, said Simmonds. Work is being planned for the library and other surrounding buildings.

"We’ve got a lot of planning pieces happening. It’s a pretty exciting thing," Simmonds said.