Campus enhancements will total $125 million
April 3, 2008
by Vienna Carvalho
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RIT is growing by leaps and bounds overseas—the announcement of RIT Dubai and the steady partnership with Kosovo and Croatia are just a few examples—but there are also important changes happening at home.
In a recent presentation delivered to the RIT community, James Watters, RIT’s Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration, outlined the nearly $125 million in campus renovations, updates and new construction that will occur over the next few years. Here is what the RIT community can look forward to:
Park Point. Wilmorite is developing this mixed-use community, a major hub for retail businesses, combined with housing opportunities for 924 individuals, opening this fall. Retail giant Barnes and Noble—the current management arm of the RIT bookstore—will anchor the project. This summer, RIT’s bookstore will move from its home in the Student Alumni Union to the 40,000-square-foot facility at Park Point.
At the end of Wilmorite’s financings, the entire project is expected to be gifted back to RIT.
North Forest Business Park, located on eight acres in RIT’s Business and Technology Park, will provide housing for businesses that graduate from start-up incubators. RIT currently has 16 businesses in the incubator—two graduated from the incubator this past year.
Rivers Run. This development, located on the former site of the RIT Racquet Club townhomes, will become an RIT-affiliated retirement community. Rivers Run has currently constructed approximately 25 patio homes on site, with the developer currently building an additional 82 independent living apartment units. Rivers Run will also be the permanent home for RIT’s Osher Lifelong Learning Center.
Electrical infrastructure. A $7 million project will enhance RIT’s outdated electrical infrastructure in order to reassure uninterrupted service to the campus. University officials are also moving forward with a $38 million program to replace heating and cooling plants at the university over the next 18 months.
According to Watters, the project’s goal is to become more efficient and environmentally friendly while finding centralized solutions to RIT’s heating and cooling needs.
Student Alumni Union pool area. This $10 million project will create a new student-service center for Student Affairs including a consolidation of programs and Student Government and student-activity space. RIT trustee John “Dutch” Summers has donated $2 million to this project along with design services. Renderings for the space are in their final phase and the project is expected to be complete in 12 to 14 months.
Kiln facility. On the west side of the Booth Building, RIT will be building a facility to replace the existing kilns. The first phase of this project will relocate the School for American Crafts. The newly created Vignelli Design Center will feature first-floor gallery space with a separate space housing permanent artistic collections.
Student/Administrative Services Center and Innovation Center. This $15.6 million project will feature a 10,000-square-foot ground-level facility to complement President Destler’s vision for innovation at RIT. Windows will provide passersby with the opportunity to see first-hand the projects that RIT faculty and students are working on.
“This facility will be high-tech, functional and flexible,” adds Watters. The building will also be home to the new centralized administrative and student-service building.
“We are bringing everything together in one place and revolutionizing our service delivery model for students,” says Watters.
Global Village. As of May, 20 percent of Riverknoll apartments will be torn down and Global Village will be built in its place. The project is modeled after Santana Row in San Jose, Calif., and will feature lively spaces, an Entrepreneur House, wellness center, a bank and a late-night venue. It will ultimately house 1,200 to 1,400 students. The first phase of this project will cost approximately $42 million and will feature a leading-edge global-village concept. Housing will reflect the motif of countries where RIT students go for study abroad and international co-ops.
“Part of this Global Village concept deals with our international aspirations. It’s part of our strategic plan going forward that 10 percent of our students will enroll in co-ops overseas,” says Watters.
Watters adds: “Within the first eight months of his tenure, President Destler has so demonstrated his competency in running this university that the trustees believe in him, understand his vision and are fully supportive of moving forward with these major capital programs. This is just a tremendous vote of confidence.”