Building the Future: The SHED


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RIT students’ passion for technology, the arts, and design will be on display every day in the anticipated Student Hall for Exploration and Development (SHED). The creative hub will centralize the university’s makerspace and performing arts studios and theaters. The sprawling facility is RIT’s largest construction project since the Henrietta campus opened in 1968.

Rendering of The SHED.

The SHED will transform the center of campus and put a spotlight on RIT students’ creative collaboration. The complex will house maker- and project team spaces, dance studios, rehearsal rooms, and performing arts theatres.

Student work will flow into the public spaces and passersby will see the activity from glass bridges connecting the SHED to Monroe Hall and Wallace Library on either side. Renovations to Wallace Library on each floor will create portals to the SHED and a sense of one building flowing into the next.

The Inspiration and Gifts

RIT Trustee and 2009 alumnus Austin McChord, founder of Datto, a Connecticut-based data protection company, envisioned a new makerspace and learning complex  on campus that would foster creativity and entrepreneurship at RIT. This space has become the SHED. 

McChord’s 2017 record gift of $50 million to RIT includes $17.5 million to build the collaborative learning complex. Financing through the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York will offset the construction costs, which will exceed $100 million.

RIT alumnus and trustee Frank Sklarsky ’78 and his wife, Ruth, made a significant gift of $2.5 million to establish the Sklarsky Glass Box Theater.

A gallery dedicated to RIT’s partnership with the Genesee Valley Country Museum on the first floor of the SHED will showcase university-wide research and scholarship from the partnership. RIT alumnus Philip Wehrheim (’66, business) and his wife, Anne, endowed the RIT-GCV&M partnership in 2019 with a $1.3 million gift, a portion of which is supporting the exhibition space.

Special Features

The Boston-based firm William Rawn Associates Architects Inc. designed The SHED.

The SHED will cover more than 120,000 square feet of new construction as well as more than 83,000 square feet of renovations in Wallace Library and Monroe Hall. The total project will exceed 200,000 gross square feet of combined renovated and new construction. The design includes natural spaces, a courtyard, and landscaped passages weaving through the building and under a glass bridge.

The SHED will house individual rehearsal spaces, a large dance instruction studio, and a music rehearsal studio. A black-box/glass-box theater seating 180 will be reconfigurable to control the light entering the facility.

Jonathan Dharmadi, a fourth-year new media design student from Elmhurst, N.Y., won a student competition to name the SHED. McChord requested that students name the facility to make it their own.

Rendering of the interior of an active classroom in the SHED.

Instructional space within the SHED will create 27 new classrooms and 1,500 additional seats. These include 22 standard-size flexible classrooms and five extra-large classrooms, each seating 150. Classrooms will feature cutting edge video transport and large format projection screens along with flexible furniture allowing multiple configurations for group work, lectures, symposiums and receptions.

David Munson

The SHED will be the place where prospective students and their parents will stop by and, in just five or 10 minutes, say, “Oh, this is RIT,” and see that it is different from almost every other institution.

They will see students working together on projects and studying together in other parts of the facilities. They are going to see a lot of people carrying musical instruments around and there will be performances and making of all different types. There is no other university that has this type of integrated facility that is not just a set of machine tools and shop equipment. It’s way more than that.”

Key Websites

Virtual Tour and Naming Opportunities

Performing Arts at RIT