The Woodward Pool is getting a facelift—and RIT students are getting a place to put their feet up.
A gift of $2 million, plus architectural and construction plan underwriting from The Summers Foundation (RIT trustee John “Dutch” Summers and his wife, Jayne), sparked a $10 million effort to create a 30,000-plus square foot Campus Center in the Student Alumni Union—a space Student Affairs officials are heralding as a much-needed “family room” for the student body.
“We need a place where students can connect, socialize and study—someplace that’s warm, somewhere students can grab something to eat,” says Heath Boice-Pardee, associate vice president for student affairs.
While many of RIT’s eight colleges have such a space available for their students in the form of common areas, the new Campus Center will be designed to have a cross-institute appeal. It will be located in the heart of campus, in the former Woodward Pool area across from Clark Gymnasium.
The Campus Center will double as a glass main entrance to the Student Alumni Union, which includes a second story overlook onto the Quarter Mile. Visitors will enter into a lobby that features a spiral staircase encircling a unique water structure that is designed to celebrate the original Woodward facility.
The facility’s main level will house Student Government, the Leadership Institute and Community Service Center and the RIT Women’s Center. It will also include three general-use conference rooms and an area designated for RIT clubs and club services.
Lower-level tenants include Reporter magazine, the Campus Activities Board, Global Union (RIT’s largest multicultural student organization) and AALANA (African American, Latino American, Asian American and Native American) Collegiate Association.
The upper floor features a student lounge positioned in the glass bay overlooking the Quarter Mile. It will also house offices for the Orientation program and the First-Year Enrichment Program, in addition to offices for the Off Campus and Apartment Student Association. The upper level will also have two connected multi-purpose rooms for student events and a sizable reading room for quiet study. It will be joined to the Student Affairs offices on the second floor of the Student Alumni Union by a bridge that will connect at the Clark meeting rooms.
Plans for the new Campus Center were largely driven by student input. Pushing for the renovation of the Woodward Pool area into student-centered space was one of Student Government president Ed Wolf and Student Government vice president Sasha Malinchoc’s primary objectives when they took office.
“We heard from our student clubs and organizations that there wasn’t enough space and resources dedicated to them,” Wolf says. “This renovation will bring new meeting spaces, better resources and a comfortable atmosphere that the union has lacked. It is our hope that this will encourage more students to become involved on campus.”
RIT’s Office of Development has launched a fundraising effort to support the remainder of the project, which is slated for completion in the fall of 2009. Officials hope to see ground broken this spring.