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Seven Months into Renovation, the New Schine Takes Shape
After donning a hard hat and protective eyewear to walk into the Schine Student Center construction zone, the first glimpse into the space is one of impressive vastness. What was once concealed behind brick walls and sectioned off into quadrants is a wide-open floor plan, soon to be filled with new gathering spaces, dining options, and offices for student services and activities.
There is still some time until the renovated Hildegarde and J. Myer Schine Student Center opens to the public. Right now, half of the building is still occupied by the University Bookstore and Goldstein Auditorium. The other half has been gutted, from the Panasci Lounge on the third floor all the way down to the loading dock. Demolition of the space is complete, according to Vice President and Chief Campus Facilities Officer Pete Sala. He says that the project’s general contractor, LeChase Construction, hauled away 223 30-yard dumpsters full of construction waste. That’s 1,345 tons of debris, or put another way by Sala, just as much interior demolition as with the Barnes Center at The Arch project.
The building’s central pyramid is gone, and soon the new atrium will take shape, opening up sightlines from the top floor down to the main floor—a stark change from the previously isolated spaces in Schine’s old configuration. Space for new elevators has been excavated, and the electrical and mechanical infrastructure needed to support the new design has been planned.
The alterations to the building’s exterior will begin next—Sala says to expect to see crews removing windows and cutting concrete in order to prepare for the “booth box” style seating in the new dining area and for the replacement of the existing façade on the Einhorn Family Walk side of the building.
The remodel of the student center is a key component of the Campus Framework, a 20-year roadmap meant to guide future campus planning and development. When the renovation was announced, campus administrators cited the need for enhanced and updated spaces that celebrated the vibrancy of student life. The new Schine will feature centralized spaces for student activities, including an expanded space that co-locates the Disability Cultural Center, Office of Multicultural Affairs, and LGBT Resource Center to further promote and celebrate intersectionality and inclusion.
Over 50 workers are on-site at peak times, according to Campus Planning, Design and Construction (CPDC) staff. They’re following plans provided by Mackey Mitchell Architects, who designed new, accessible pathways using universal design principles, versatile spaces and lounges, and new, larger gathering areas for supporting student organization activities, studying, group meetings, or lounging.
In the near future, the campus community can look forward to announcements about new dining options, said Jennifer Uryniak, interim director of Auxiliary Services.
“Dunkin’ will be returning to Schine, but beyond that, students can expect a mix of local and national dining concepts,” said Uryniak. “We want to make sure we’re offering options with broad appeal—healthy selections, late-night food, and everything in between.”
For Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Amir Rahnamay-Azar, who oversees the Business, Finance and Administrative Services (BFAS) division, which includes many of the units working on the renovation, the new Schine represents an opportunity to offer an unparalleled student experience to Syracuse University students.
“We believe that the renovation to the Schine Student Center will allow us to provide exceptional customer service to the various stakeholders at Syracuse University,” said Rahnamay-Azar. “So much of what we do is driven by our desire to meet the needs of students today and for students in the future.”
Student involvement was integral to the planning and design process of the Schine renovation, with over 1,600 people providing input during meetings, residence hall surveys, dining center pop-ups, and other campus-wide feedback opportunities. CPDC and the Division of Enrollment and the Student Experience also turned to students for feedback on furniture for the new space. Before placing the order for chairs, sofas, and other fixtures, samples were displayed for students to try and share which styles they prefer, said Sala.
“This is going to be a really great, really beautiful space for our students,” said Sala. “We’re on track for our fall opening, and I can’t wait to see the finished product.”