SUNY Geneseo plans to renovate two core campus buildings as part of its ongoing efforts to maintain and redesign facilities to create effective learning environments on campus as outlined in the College’s strategic plan.
For several months, a team of faculty, staff, students and administrators have been reimagining what Sturges and Fraser halls might look like and how the two facilities could relate to each other and the broader campus. After much deliberation and drawing input from a campus-wide town hall forum the advisory groups under the guidance of George Stooks, assistant vice president for facilities and planning, is now ready to unveil a concept that will integrate these two iconic and historic buildings into a new connected educational and social space.
The concept, “Sturges/Fraser as Learning & Community Hub,” locates the Center for Integrative Learning (CIL), classrooms, group assembly spaces and open learning commons in Fraser Hall. A centrally located building with connections to Sturges, South and Wadsworth Halls, Fraser will utilize existing pedestrian thoroughfares to draw students to a space that will provide open lounges and a more formal enclosed learning environment. And while the program plan may evolve as the project proceeds into the schematic design phase, the following highlights provide a sense of the overall concept and aims.
On the first floor, four classrooms will be located in the east end of the building, near the Wadsworth Hall connector. At the west end of the first floor will be the Prayer, Meditation and Reflection room, Hillel and the LGBTQ+ Resource Center. Their placement provides proximity to other community program spaces located on the first floor of Sturges Hall. The main lobby of Fraser Hall will be an active intersection as students access Sturges, South and Wadsworth Halls. There will also be community-building spaces including a café, an open lounge and conference rooms.
On the second floor, CIL will occupy the east end, which was once Fraser Library. An additional collaboration room will be located at the west end. Also on the second floor will be a classroom and a large conference room — space that could also accommodate future CIL growth. Like the first floor, the intersection on this floor will also have an open learning commons.
The Department of Communication, faculty offices, a computer training room, a convergence lab and the radio station, WGSU, are shown on the garden level. Three classrooms and a conference room will also be on this level. An open lounge that can be utilized for meetings, as well as provide access to the terrace, will be positioned opposite the main stairway. The Access Opportunity Programs (AOP), the Office of Diversity and Equity, including the Title IX Office, a new Culture Commons, and health and counseling offices will be located on the first floor. These programs will be integrated with three classrooms and conference rooms. The first floor will also feature an open lounge opposite the main stairway.
The second floor in Sturges will be occupied by the Departments of History and Political Science & International Relations’ offices. The existing auditorium on the second floor will be maintained as a multi-function space to be utilized by the adjacent academic departments for lectures or large-group events. The second floor will also include flex offices for department growth, two classrooms and an open lounge opposite the main stairway. These spaces could also be used as pre-function spaces or break-out rooms in support of auditorium events. The third floor will be occupied entirely by the tutoring and testing center.
“We are very excited to see this project moved forward,” said Stooks. “SUNY Geneseo is committed to maintaining the scholarly environment that we are known for, and I believe the ‘Sturges/Fraser as Learning & Community Hub’ is the next step in those efforts. The hub concept combines the best efficiencies in academic and student support interaction to create a central locale that will enable students, staff and faculty to connect, engage and exchange ideas more than ever before.”
Since neither building has ever undergone a substantial renovation — Sturges was built in 1938 and Fraser in 1955 — the project is expected to be somewhat complex. Stooks plans to involve the State Historic Preservation Office as he and the planning and facilities staff work with the State University Construction Fund (SUCF). The architecture firm of Flynn Battaglia will lead the implementation of the final design of the renovated halls.
To date, $1.2M funding for the project has come from the 2017-18 SUNY capital budget with an additional $1.7M allocated in the 2018-19 capital budget. The funding, legislated in New York State’s annual capital budgets, is routed to the project via the SUCF and is intended to take the project through completion of schematic design, which is expected to be completed by mid-January 2019. When completely renovated, the Sturges/Fraser project is estimated to cost in excess of $30M.