Renovations on Tyler Hall proceed into spring season

Construcion workers operate the renovations and updates of the lobby area of Tyler Hall, a building that will have multiple new exciting features upon completion. (Alexander Simone | The Oswegonian)
Construcion workers operate the renovations and updates of the lobby area of Tyler Hall, a building that will have multiple new exciting features upon completion. (Alexander Simone | The Oswegonian)

After a semester and-a-half of construction, the crane and fences around Tyler Hall have become a part of everyday life on the Oswego State campus.

The inside of the partially rebuilt Tyler Hall feels far from familiar though.

Already the construction team(s) have poured the concrete for a new first floor lobby and put down the foundations of the revamped Waterman Theatre. Though the theater is the largest part of the process, the rebuilding supporting structures have been put in place for the new art and music rooms too.

Some of the perks for the improved music department will include soundproof practice rooms and better rehearsal areas.  According to Facilities Service, Major Project Group Project Manager Bob Lloyd, all the soundproof rooms are double-wall construction.  This type of construction does not allow sounds to transfer from one side of the wall to the other.

The structure being built on the roof of the building is one of two mechanical penthouses.  By moving the mechanical equipment to the roof, the old mechanical rooms are now being used for teaching space, Lloyd said.

Although Oswego State has been very accommodating in finding alternative classroom options, relocated classes have seen a mix of benefits and drawbacks the past nine months.

Hewitt Union is a prime example of this, housing various theater and art classes, as well as any Del Sarte or theatrical performances.

This was seen at such events as the fall Del Sarte performance, where limited seating resulted in a sell-out event within a few days.

Art specifically has a wide array of classes in Hewitt, using the union to hold photography, sculpting and typography classes.

Some professors had a simple relocation process.

Waterman Theatre in Tyler Hall is the biggest construction project in the building’s renovation process. (Alexander Simone | The Oswegonian)
Waterman Theatre in Tyler Hall is the biggest construction project in the building’s renovation process. (Alexander Simone | The Oswegonian)

“For me it was a very pleasant surprise,” art instructor Mary Pierce said.

Pierce found that the move was in fact mostly beneficial in both her 2-D design concepts and introduction to printmaking classes.

Some of the advantages of Hewitt included more efficient use of space and lighted tables for 2-D design. For printmaking Pierce appreciated having all of the materials in one place and easier access to computers.

Those in sculpting had a more complex experience with the move, however.

“We had a woodshop that was probably four times the size of what we have now,” sculpture and art history professor Benjamin Entner said.

Previously, Entner had specific areas in his woodshop for metalworking and plastics.

Additionally, there was no ventilation in the basement of Hewitt Union so they were not able to use any hot metals or plastics due to the fumes, according to Entner.

At the same time, Entner recognized various merits of temporarily being in Hewitt. One of the biggest achievements was the iron pour put on during the fall 2014 semester, which Entner said would likely not have happened at Tyler Hall.

It was projected that Tyler Hall’s first stage of construction would be completed by the beginning of next semester, said Art Department Chair Cynthia Clabough.

“The opening will probably be a rolling kind of thing,” Clabough said. “It’s obvious that we’re going to be utilizing these new spaces while also renovating the older spaces that didn’t get done.”

While both professors were thankful for the chances they saw at Hewitt, they are eagerly awaiting the re-opening of the art rooms.

“There won’t be drops of water coming through the roof, so that’s a positive,” Pierce said of the new Tyler Hall.

In the past, the printmaking rooms were located at opposite ends of the hallway, she said. For this reason she was often forced to divide her time between the two, leading to decreased efficiency.

“We’re looking forward to having our woodshop right next door to the sculpture and 3-D studio,” Entner said. “In the past it was across the building, so there was another challenge of bringing materials.”

The prospect of new equipment and better ventilation would both be welcomed upgrades from the old building Entner said. The problem with the previous facilities was simply that they, as with all of Tyler, were becoming outdated.

“The bones are good, but the plumbing’s old and the wiring’s old,” Clabough said. “Digital technologies weren’t even envisioned when the building was built.”

This spoke to the longevity of Tyler though, the fact that many spots were so outdated showed that the building had gotten its full use. Entner, for example, mentioned that his woodshop had not been updated for 30 years.

The building is projected to be completed in November 2015.