Quad renovations set to start in 2013

The Hewitt Quad will be the third part of campus renovated in recent years order to make the buildings more relevant to students’ needs.

The Campus Concept Committee, which includes students, faculty and administrators, made the decision to renovate the Hewitt Quad with input from the administration. The renovations are in the planning stage and will be completed in 2013.

"They were a little more concerned with the Brutalistic look of the buildings more than maybe how they functioned and how they interacted," said Tom Simmonds, co-chair of the committee.

Most of the buildings were built in the ‘60s, leaving them out of date and in need of renovation. Physically, Hewitt Quad is a series of concrete boxes.

"You can’t tell that Penfield’s a library and Tyler’s a performing arts building. From the outside you wouldn’t know there’s a difference," Simmonds said.

The renovation will modernize the outside and inside of the buildings.

"The idea is to make the campus a better place," Susan Camp, chair of faculty assembly, said.

The Campus Concept Committee must think about the need for more space for the School of Communication, Media and the Arts. A study is being done in terms of using Tyler and Hewitt for future space needs.

Recently, the architecture firm Pfeiffer, out of New York City, met with some members of the School of Communication Media and the Arts to discuss what to do about the department and their spatial needs.

Some of the renovations include Penfield and Lanigan. They will be used as an information and innovation center, rather than just a library and lecture hall. Both will be used as a reference and information hub for faculty and students.

Renovations in Mahar will be looked at in terms of space needs for programs and classrooms.

"Everything has changed: how the whole paradigm, how everyone interacts, so that is going to change all that," Simmonds said.

The renovation is a giant concept that will include different projects and different programs, Camp said. Each building will be done in phases, according to how big or how much work each part needs.

In addition to modernizing the space, Hewitt Quad is being worked on to better prepare students for the world. The way students learn and study is different than it was when the buildings were first built in the ‘60s, leading to the need for renovation.

"It will be a place where the campus community and the community at large can come together for the arts, for community programs, for formal and informal educational programs," Camp said.

Also, focus groups conducted in spring 2007 for the west quad showed that people wanted certain renovations done in order to have a better effect on teaching and learning, such as common areas, better desks for students, and community accessible parking for the library and performances in Tyler, among others.

Outside gathering areas for classes and College Hour events, better faculty gathering spaces, and more free space for gaming could help to create a sense of community on campus, the focus groups concluded.

Along with renovations to the Hewitt Quad, Hanbury Evans, a planning consultant, designed the Facilities Master Plan,,Simmonds said. The plan includes synthetic fields so that teams could get longer seasons out of them, Simmonds said The fields could then be raised in order to put parking underneath.

"That’s one idea I thought was pretty cool because then you don’t displace your green space and you get a lot of parking where people are looking for it," Simmonds said.