With Tolley, Crouse-Hinds changes, academics move ‘front and center’ in SU’s new plans for campus space
With Tolley, Crouse-Hinds changes, academics move ‘front and center’ in SU’s new plans for campus spaceMarch 31, 2005Matthew R. Snydermrsnyder@syr.edu
With a series of renovations, building projects and departmental relocations planned for the near future, Syracuse University is accelerating its drive to make academic activities the highest priority in its use of buildings and other physical resources. Among the highlights will be the creation of a College of Arts and Sciences-based Humanities Center and other academic space in the Tolley Building-which will be structurally rehabilitated and refurbished inside and out-and the planned move of several administrative offices and academic units, the Chancellor’s Office among them, to the Crouse-Hinds building.
Vice Chancellor and Provost Deborah A. Freund unveiled the plans at this afternoon’s “town hall”-style meeting, titled “Building the Creative Campus.” She and Associate Vice Chancellor Michael A. Flusche discussed the ways in which new space plans will benefit the University and the community, including Tolley, Crouse-Hinds and several other space investments centered around the University’s main campus.
According to Flusche, the Tolley/Crouse-Hinds move embodies Chancellor Nancy Cantor’s desire to place academics at the physical-and intellectual-center of the University. “Tolley is a historic building and central to the University’s mission,” says Flusche. “Chancellor Cantor’s designation of the building for The College of Arts and Sciences for the creation of a new Humanities Center, together with the creation of new classroom and faculty spaces for interdisciplinary collaboration, distance learning opportunities and research-all are representative of the University’s commitment to vigorous engagement with the world of creative thought.”
In addition to housing the Humanities Center and its faculty fellows, Tolley will be home to a variety of interdisciplinary programs that promote collaborative research and instructional activities. Additionally, there will be spaces for interaction between fellows, faculty, students and visitors as they conduct their research and participate in a wide array of pursuits that will elevate the study of the humanities to a new level at SU. Exterior updates to the building are scheduled to begin in May 2005, to be followed by intensive structural rehabilitation over the summer. It is hoped that new occupants will be able to take up residence as early as January 2007.
“The Chancellor’s gift is both substantive and symbolic,” says College of Arts and Sciences Dean Cathryn R. Newton. “The main objectives of the Humanities Center are to explore connections between humanistic thought, public life and social change, and to develop interdisciplinary research in the arts, languages, literature, philosophy, religion and other fields.”
According to John Osinski, senior project manager in the Office of Design and Construction and coordinator for the Tolley and Crouse-Hinds projects, Tolley will retain many of the historical details that make it such an integral part of the University landscape. “Outside, we’ll return to the traditional look the building had in the 1920s and 1930s, without the ivy, which will improve its resistance to weather and age. Inside, much of the traditional millwork will be retained, as well as details like the grand staircase and rich, warm finishes.” However, Osinski says the building will incorporate some ultra-modern features to emphasize its purpose as a learning and teaching space. “We will have distance-education spaces, wired to connect in real time to anywhere in the world, and academic-driven details such as fluid, open spaces where collaboration can occur across disciplines,” he says. There will also be new reception areas, a humanities library and other academic support spaces.
The administrative departments displaced by the renovation of Tolley, along with some others in need of new space, will benefit from the University’s investment in the Crouse-Hinds building, recently vacated by the Martin J. Whitman School of Management’s move into its new building on University Avenue. Because it does not require structural rehabilitation, the Crouse-Hinds project will focus on refurbishing spaces and updating them for the specific needs of the end users.
The Admissions Office will occupy the first and second floors of Crouse-Hinds, with a move scheduled for late June. Osinski says that plans call for the “living room” of Admissions’ current space to be improved upon in the new location, and for a presentation room that will grant prospective students and parents a view of construction of the Newhouse III building.
Beginning in late summer, space on the third and fourth floors will be occupied by classrooms and office space for a group of interdisciplinary academic programs-a “very exciting academic space,” in the words of Cantor. Proposed use for the space calls for faculty and student collaborations including the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs’ Center for Environmental Policy and Administration, Center for Technology and Information Policy, and Geographic Information Systems; the College of Law’s and School of Education’s Disability Studies Program; and the School of Education’s Human Policy Program.
Floors five and six will be host to the Vice Chancellor’s Office, the Chancellor’s Office, several members of the Chancellor’s Cabinet, the University’s legal counsel and a group of senior development staff. The seventh floor will become the Chancellor’s conference area, with views of campus framed by the “Six Curved Walls (Syracuse)” installation, created by famed artist Sol LeWitt ’49 to honor Cantor’s inauguration.
“The University and its donors are investing more than a quarter-billion dollars in new space and improved resources on campus and in the city,” says Flusche. “Previously announced projects like Newhouse III and the new Whitman School building, together with Crouse-Hinds and Tolley, are the start of a cycle of growth that will help every part of the University and create the physical underpinnings for Chancellor Cantor’s vision of what SU will become.”
The next “Building the Creative Campus” meeting, slated for April 4 at 4 p.m. in the College of Law’s Grant Auditorium, will focus on SU’s engagement with the city of Syracuse and the Central New York community. It will be hosted by Thomas J. Walsh, senior vice president for institutional advancement; Charles P. Merrihew, associate vice president for principal gifts and Chancellor’s initiatives; Carole Brzozowski, dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts; and Mark Robbins, dean of the School of Architecture. For more information on the meetings, contact SU News Services at (315) 443-3784.