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The changing campus landscape

Rochester Institute of Technology’s landscape has changed dramatically in the time since the university moved from downtown Rochester to the Henrietta campus. In that time, NTID’s campus footprint also has changed. New buildings have been constructed, structures have been renovated and new spaces created to reflect the changing ways deaf and hard-of-hearing students live and learn at a world-class university. In this article, “FOCUS” looks at the major construction projects that have created today’s campus landscape for NTID.

Black and white photo of construction of LBJ Hall
Black and white photo of interior construction of LBJ Hall

NTID Complex

After the National Advisory Board officially announced RIT as the location for NTID on November 14, 1966, the architectural firm of Hugh Stubbins and Associates was hired to design the new complex. The groundbreaking was held in 1971. Construction took three years to complete, and the dedication of the $27.5 million NTID facilities took place on October 5, 1974. The original complex for NTID included the Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall academic building; Mark Ellingson Hall, Peter Peterson Hall and Residence Hall D student housing; and the Shumway Dining Commons.

Black and white photo of dedication event for LBJ Hall
1974 birds-eye view of campus with LBJ Hall situated in top left corner
Photo of Hugh L. Carey posing in front of Hugh L. Carey Hall
Modern photo of Carey Hall entrance
Black and white photo of Carey Hall

Hugh L. Carey Hall

Dedicated on October 14, 1984, the building was named in honor of Hugh L. Carey, the former governor of New York state who proposed the bill for NTID in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1965. NTID’s Department of Access Services calls Carey Hall home. In 1991, an addition was built to accommodate the expanding number of interpreters and captionists needed to serve the growing number of deaf and hard-of-hearing students pursuing degrees in the other colleges of RIT.

Photo of the Joseph F. and Helen C. Dyer Arts Center
Photo of LBJ courtyard under construction

Joseph F. and Helen C. Dyer Arts Center

Eight months of construction in 2001 turned NTID’s center courtyard into the 7,000 sq. ft. glass-enclosed Joseph F. and Helen C. Dyer Arts Center, the world’s largest gallery devoted to exhibiting significant works by deaf and hard-of-hearing artists. Joseph and Helen Dyer were long-time supporters of NTID. They provided $2.5 million to fund the construction and on-going support of the Dyer Arts Center. The grand opening took place on October 26, 2001.

Photo of dedication event for Dyer Arts Center
Photo of dedication event for CSD Student Development Center
Modern photo of interior of CSD Student Development Center
Overhead photo of CSD SDC exterior under construction

The Communication Service for the Deaf Student Development Center

Opened in fall 2006, the $6 million 30,000 sq. ft. building is the social and cultural center of campus life for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. The CSD Student Development Center is home to the offices of NTID Student Congress, NTID Student Life Team and multicultural clubs. It also houses a coffee shop, a large multipurpose meeting/conference center and additional meeting rooms, a study center and informal spaces that facilitate interaction and socializing. This includes Ellie’s Place, a lounge area in the center of the SDC that was dedicated in 2012 to honor the late Dr. Eleanor Rosenfield, who was former NTID associate dean for Student and Academic Services. For more than 30 years, Rosenfield was an integral part of the NTID community who worked with students to help realize their fullest potential.

Photo of construction of Frisina Quad
Photo of completed Frisina Quad
Photo of Jan Strine Memorial Labyrinth

Frisna Quad/Jan Strine Memorial Labyrinth

Frisina Quad is surrounded by Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall, Ellingson and Peterson Halls, and the CSD Student Development Center. It was dedicated in 2007 in honor of Dr. D. Robert Frisina, the founding director of NTID. Frisina Quad is a venue for many events throughout the year, including the annual Apple Festival, held every fall to welcome RIT/NTID students back to school. It is also now home to the Jan Strine Memorial Labyrinth, which was dedicated in 2015. Strine was a mentor to many deaf students over the course of her 30-year career at NTID.

Photo of exterior construction of Rosica Hall
Photo of completed Rosica Hall exterior

Sebastian and Lenore Rosica Hall

Devoted to innovation and research for students, faculty and staff of NTID, Rosica Hall officially opened on Oct. 11, 2013, and was made possible through a $1.75 million grant by the Chicago-based William G. McGowan Charitable Fund. Additional outside private funds were raised to complete Rosica Hall. The Rosicas were life-long advocates for deaf and hard-of-hearing people. Lenore Rosica was the sister of William G. McGowan, CEO of MCI Communications Corporation, and worked as a speech pathologist. Her husband, Sebastian, worked as an audiologist for 40 years at St. Mary’s School for the Deaf in Buffalo, New York, and was a trustee of the McGowan Charitable Fund.

Interior photo of Rosica Hall atrium
Overhead photo of RIT's campus under construction, 1968


Overhead photo of RIT's campus in 2017


RIT Campus Construction

RIT campus construction by the decade
Take a stroll around RIT these days and it is hard to miss the construction activity or the new structures that have been added over the past 50 years. There have been 132 new buildings and major additions constructed at RIT since the opening of the Henrietta campus in 1968 after relocating from downtown Rochester. Number of new free-standing buildings and major additions constructed by the decade:
1966-1969 29
1970-1979 44
1980-1989 13
1990-1999 6
2000-2009 40
2010-Present 14