Surveying takes first steps in renovating Tyler Hall

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A program study has recently been completed to map out the space needs and program needs for the renovations to Tyler Hall, home of the arts, music and theatre departments, as well as art galleries and Waterman Theatre.

Associate Vice President for Facilities Thomas Simmonds said the program study is an important step in the process to begin renovating Tyler Hall.

“It takes a look at where your programs are now, where you want them to be in a bunch of years, and plans your spaces for growth and adjacencies,” Simmonds said.

The program study was done by Pfeiffer Partners, a design firm of architects, interior designers and planners with offices in Los Angeles and New York City. The firm completed the program study from December 2011 to January 2012. Simmonds said the firm specializes in architecture in fine and performing arts spaces.

“They have some really good experience with different stuff,” Simmonds said. “They’re a big tamale. We’re excited to have them here.”

Simmonds said money for renovations to campus facilities comes from the educational facilities capital plan, which is a capital development plan sponsored through SUNY. Simmonds said the current plan runs from 2008 to 2013 and includes about $220 million worth of work that has happened on campus.

The program study found that Tyler Hall needed about $50 million worth of work in order to be upgraded, according to Simmonds. The study also pointed out the need for a new music recital hall to be constructed on campus. Simmonds said the price tag on the music recital hall would be about $10 million.

Simmonds pointed out that it would not be practical to shut down Tyler Hall for the entire time it would take to complete the renovations. Simmonds said a first phase design project has begun planning the initial renovations to the building. Construction is currently planned to begin in Fall 2013. Simmonds estimated the first phase to take a year to a year and a half to be completed.

Simmonds said the main theme of phase one will be upgrades to Waterman Theatre to make it more up to date and accessible. The 525-seat theatre has been around since its original construction in the 1970s. Other renovations being planned in the first phase for Tyler Hall include the lobby being redone, a new entryway, foyer and music rehearsal hall.

Simmonds said the planned music rehearsal hall will impact one of the two art galleries in Tyler Hall. Simmonds said an expansion of the other art gallery to make it larger and more enhanced is being planned to offset this.

Simmonds also mentioned the need for new mechanical systems to be installed in Tyler Hall as part of the first phase. These include heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. Simmonds said this will help with humidity control problems in the building, making it a better place to store musical instruments.

Janine Turner is the design coordinator for the project. Turner said she has had conversations with the chairs from each department and other select faculty in Tyler Hall to gather information and get a better picture of where this project is going.

“As all that information comes together, then we have to figure out what gets impacted and where do they go,” Turner said.

Turner said it is important that everyone is happy and benefits from this project.

“The initial goal in phase one is to make sure that each of the four departments gets something out of it,” Turner said.

Simmonds said that the first phase will cost about $15 million, while the second and third phases are being planned as well with a future capital plan set to begin in 2013.

A meeting was planned for April 12 to discuss the planned renovations to Tyler Hall further, but was delayed. The new date for the meeting is Tuesday, April 24.

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