SUNY Oswego to Create Nation’s First Broadcast and Graphic Design Facility
SUNY Oswego officially kicked off an $ 80 million campus renovation project this week that will transform the former Hewitt Union into a nationally competitive hub for its school of communication, media and the arts. The transformed Hewitt Hall will serve as the new home for the college’s renowned broadcast; graphic design; and film and screen study programs.
Developed with input from students, faculty and other stakeholders, the renewed Hewitt Hall has a target completion date of fall 2023 to host classes, labs, events and related activities that will further enhance the media arts programs of the School of Communication, Media and the Arts. Exterior renovations are expected to be completed in 2022.
The college officially announced today the selection of CannonDesign (of Buffalo) as the architect for the project, with DiPasquale Construction (Spencerport) doing the renovations, with work creating 439 jobs over the course of the project.
âWe are excited to be working with high caliber design and construction companies in Cannon and DiPasquale,â said Mitch Fields, SUNY Oswego associate vice president for facilities services. According to Fields, CannonDesign was responsible for Montclair State’s new communications building, considered the best in the country – and Oswego plans to aim even higher.
“When completed, Hewitt Hall will become a facility where the best distinguished students and faculty from across the country come to find a practical and transformative state-of-the-art learning and teaching space,” said SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley. “This is in addition to a massive $ 850 million renewal program that has made our campus increasingly competitive in our academic programs and further promotes the academic excellence that exists at Oswego.”
According to Dr. Julie Pretzat, Dean of the Oswego School of Communication, Media and the Arts, the ultimate goal is to provide the most technologically advanced facility in the country for communication, film and design programs. graphic. This project, similar to the renovations of Tyler Hall College in 2019 which brought together the Fine and Performing Arts programs, and Wilber Hall in 2018 which brought together all departments of the School of Education, will bring together the remaining departments of AGCA under one roof.
The first floor will have a large open area with classrooms, faculty offices, a skylight and a prominent television studio that includes a newsroom and control room to showcase the historic strength of the college in broadcasting. The ground floor will contain most of the other broadcast, audio and podcast studios and tech spaces. The second floor will focus on graphic design with collaborative workspaces that will look more like a professional environment than traditional classrooms.
A large, modernized and airy two-story ballroom will provide performance space for a range of campus events. The building will offer spaces like virtual reality studios that address the interdisciplinary nature of advanced visual technology. Hewitt Hall’s other exhibition spaces will include a gallery, screening room and the Collaborative Core with natural light as the focal point.
âThe new Hewitt will be a warm, inviting and contemporary space where students want to work and learn – inside and outside of class hours,â said Michael Riecke, Faculty of Communication Studies, who represents this department in the planning group.
“Multimedia production labs, designed for teaching, will increase student access to industry standard software applications and improve delivery of teaching,” added Riecke. âThe newsroom will allow for increased and improved collaboration and innovation between students and faculty. The space is designed to support teaching and to simulate the functionality of a contemporary, primarily digital, newsroom.
âStudents will have hands-on experiences comparable to those in the industry and give them the experience they need to be successful after graduation,â said Kelly Roe, chair of the arts department and other key project lead. .
âOur students, faculty and staff will be proud to showcase all of the different types of work that occur at Hewitt,â added Roe. “It will definitely be a place people want to come to.”
As with other recent renovations at SUNY Oswego, Hewitt will meet or exceed the environmental expectations that accompany 21st century projects. In addition to instilling green and energy-efficient characteristics, the project will include the creation of geothermal wells, which the college has already executed when establishing the Richard S. Shineman cutting-edge center for science, engineering and innovation that opened in 2013. Geothermal wells harness heat from the earth to heat and cool buildings, and the Shineman project is one of the largest of its kind in the region.
Other successful CannonDesign projects for the Oswego campus include the Marano Campus Center, which opened in stages in 2006-2007 as a new student activity center (replacing Hewitt), as well as the Shineman Center .
Funded by the State University Construction Fund, projects such as Hewitt follow a strategic investment fund deployment model to support the needs of SUNY Oswego’s academic program as well as emerging programs with potential for enrollment growth.