The ongoing campus expansion remains a source of pride and amazement for members of the RIT community, particularly alumni who return after an extended absence to explore the numerous changes. More recent additions, and those still in the development stages, are having a dynamic impact on the evolving campus landscape - emphasizing the university's expanding commitment to innovation, creativity and global reach.
On Sept. 25, RIT formally unveiled its Center for Student Innovation, a 10,000-square-foot circular glass facility that accompanies the new three-story University Services Center. The Center for Student In- novation will help spawn new technologies, innovative products and services, for-profit businesses and other enterprises.
Meanwhile, the Sands Family Studios, new home of the School for American Crafts, has opened in a 32,000-square-foot addition to the Booth Building. It's adjacent to the site of the future Vignelli Design Center, which is slated for completion by this time next year.
Next door to the Student Alumni Union, the former Woodward Pool location is being transformed into the new Campus Center. About 30,000 square feet will soon accommodate a variety of student-centered activities. On the SAU's west side, the former bookstore location has been transformed into an electronics store called Digital Den, Bytes on the Run convenience store and Artesano Bakery & Cafe.
Perhaps no project is more highly anticipated than the $54.5 million Global Village, a retail marketplace and housing complex. Now under construction on the west side of cam- pus between the Crossroads building and the Center for Student Innovation, the complex is scheduled to open in fall 2010.
"As we reflect upon RIT's strategic plan, only one word was added to our vision statement - global," explains James Watters, RIT's senior vice president for finance and administration. "In order for our students to be successful in this global society, it is necessary to provide them with global experience and global study. This campus enhancement was created for that reason."
The housing component for this project will replace the aging and outdated Riverknoll apartment complex.
But not all the changes on campus involve additional bricks and mortar. During this academic year, the university will begin implementing a new system to better identify campus facilities. New signage and mapping will become a primary consideration as RIT institutes a consistent use of names for its facilities, weaning the campus from its use of numbers as the primary identifiers.
David Mullaney, Student Government's representative to RIT's Campus Building Identity Committee, took that conversation a step further. He suggested that each academic "building" be renamed a "hall" - a designation previously reserved for the residential facilities. That change becomes official next fall.
"Now there's a chance to start making this campus feel warmer," states Mullaney, "a little bit more academic and collegiate in nature."
Paul Stella '03