The Morris High School Auditorium was the first designated New York City Landmarked interior in the Bronx, which required a special restoration effect and a sensitive updating of technical capability. Completed over ten years ago, the auditorium is still in pristine condition. The plaster, chandelier, and the mural were nearly destroyed due to leaks, the age of the building, and lack of maintenance. All plaster was lovingly restored as was the mural, seats, and lighting to reflect a bygone era. The Post construction assessments are done for most projects as a professional tool making us aware of how well products have withstood the test of time and if the design goal was met. Good design is ageless. Fitzelle Hall is one of the largest academic buildings on the SUNY Oneonta campus, encompassing 66,210 g.s.f. and consisting of a five-story “office tower” attached to a three-story classroom wing. A comprehensive Program Study and schematic design were undertaken by our firm. The building’s main users consist of the departments of Education, Psychology, Mathematics and Computer Science. It also services Philosophy, Political Science and Sociology. Built in 1968, no significant renovation had occurred since its construction. The project was driven by the need to assess space, use and arrangement as well as the need to upgrade aged mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. In order to properly upgrade the entire building, it was necessary to evaluate the current and future academic program needs of the various departments. The program study clearly defined project goals, needs, schedule and budget for the proposed renovation.
The consultant team, some of whose primary members are the same for this proposal, proceeded simultaneously on two tracks:
1) Academic Programming
2) Building Survey
Based on the information obtained through interviews with users, meetings and a complete hands-on physical assessment of the building, a final schematic design was selected from three alternate designs, developed further and a construction cost estimate produced. The design selected added an additional story on top of the building allowing for future expansion to take place adjacent to the building. The design took advantage of the beautiful vistas by glazing the entire northern façade, using skylights to bring light into inner spaces and adding a glass enclosed student lounge on the top floor.