Summer construction season underway at RIT

Nathan Tangeman

Major construction projects continue on the RIT campus this summer, including the expansion of Max Lowenthal Hall which will nearly double the size of the Saunders College of Business building. The expansion is expected to be completed in January.

Some construction projects such as the soon-to-open Student Hall for Exploration and Development (SHED) on the Rochester Institute of Technology campus are hard to miss, while others, such as pavement sealing and striping, are more subtle.

The conclusion of the academic year always means full speed ahead to work on an array of projects while the majority of students are off campus, and the summer weather is agreeable for making good progress, said John Moore, assistant vice president for Facilities Management Services at RIT.

This summer is no different. Even the popular Tiger Statue, which was relocated due to construction of the SHED, will be returned in August to its long-time perch along the walkway next to the SHED.

“My hat goes off to the talented and hardworking project managers that move the projects forward from start to finish, managing multiple projects at a time, delivering high-quality work, on budget, and on schedule,” said Paul Drozdziel, director of RIT’s construction and project management.”

Here are some of the projects happening this summer:

The SHED: Construction continues on the largest individual project on the RIT campus, the Student Hall for Exploration and Development, scheduled to open this fall. The maker spaces, team spaces, performing arts spaces, and several new classrooms will welcome students to campus. 

Max Lowenthal Hall: An addition is being built, scheduled for completion in January 2024, which will nearly double the size of the home of Saunders College of Business. The building will include classrooms, graduate student research space, and a large event/board meeting facility. This project will also allow for the expansion of business programs.

Research building: Work is expected to begin this summer on a new research building on the west side of campus. The building will be the host to several new research spaces for science, engineering, and technology. Parking in R Lot will not be available for the 2023-2024 academic year. R Lot will be restored for the 2024-2025 academic year. The building is expected to open for new research in the fall of 2024. 

Frances Baker Hall C and D, and Residence Halls A, B, and C: Renovations are being made to this residence hall building to add air conditioning, renovate hallways and bathrooms, and improve the stairwells. Work will be completed before students arrive in August. In addition, the elevator in Kate Gleason Hall is being modernized.

Grace Watson Hall: Renovations are being done to update and modernize the area to match the interior renovations from the past few years. Beanz had been in a corner. “After the renovation, Beanz will be built out as a real coffee spot,” Moore said. “We feel it’s going to be a lot more modern and efficient. With the nearby renovations in Baker, this whole end of campus is getting a really nice facelift.”

Performing Arts Theater: The new Performing Arts Theater, which was intended to begin last year, has been delayed due to supply chain and bidding issues. Construction is now set to begin in the fall. The building includes a 750-seat theater and a massive restored pipe organ. It will be located next to J Lot, west of Institute Hall. A portion of J Lot will be closed starting this summer and for the duration of this project. Depending on the construction start, the theater is expected to open in the fall of 2025 or spring of 2026, Moore said.

Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall: Work is on schedule for the Robert F. Panara Theatre, where renovations began more than a year ago. This summer, work continues on lighting in the theater as well as renovations to work spaces behind the curtain. Completion is expected before students return in August.

Gannett Hall, Gosnell Hall, and Booth Hall: Projects are underway to add air conditioning to the remaining areas not cooled. These projects will be completed over the next three summers.  This work includes replacement of air handling equipment, replacement of duct work above ceilings, and other work that cannot be competed when classes are in session.

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