Colgate’s Office of Admission in James B. Colgate Hall reopened on March 4 after four months of construction.
The University began construction on October 30, 2013 in attempts to remodel the center during light traffic from prospective students.
“Daniel Hurwitz, from the class of 1986, and a number of other alumni and parents of Colgate students have given very generously. [The renovation] is fully gift-funded,” Senior Associate Dean of
Admission Karen Long said.
Long said that completing the project during the summer or fall months would have impacted thousands of prospective students, while the months from November to February are much quieter.
“It’s a really ambitious project to do in four months,” Long said.
The University accomplished its goal of being open and fully functioning by April 1, in efforts to welcome accepted students and prospective junior high-school students.
Incorporating updated technology and views of campus, the team that designed the admission center aimed to balance tradition with modernity, all the while emulating a sense of permanence and preparation for the future.
“Here you are at arguably the most beautiful college campus in the country. You [used to] walk into the admission building and walk deeper and deeper into a dark space, with really no opportunity to take in the campus… but now, with [broad windows] and the digital program, we are able to showcase things about campus in a really big way,” Long said.
Long said that the digital media and modern technology in particular provides a way for admissions to demonstrate how Colgate can be differentiated from other schools in its competitive bracket.
There are two quiet rooms in the entrance with wide windows where students are encouraged to conduct conversations and interviews. One of these rooms has a large screen that will interactively display young alumni and their career paths.
“The point is that [when] you come to Colgate, then you can go anywhere and do anything…you’ve made a long trip to get here, [and] you’ve just arrived in the middle of everywhere. From here, anything is possible,” Long said.
Adjacent to the following walkway that leads to the staircase is a screen that will have the capability to recognize students via a ‘Gate card reader.
On both sides of the bold staircase are two large screens that display more information about
To the right of the staircase, a screen that detects motion will display three different videos about what students can accomplish and have achieved with their Colgate education. In particular, the University plans to share the stories of alumni who have conducted riveting research or have started foundations.
In a room that will be blocked off by a glass wall, Admissions representatives will continue to give information sessions complemented by images on three large screens. To accompany sessions, the screens will display photography, various facts and quotes.
To the left of the staircase in a more quiet space, a large screen will feed images downloaded from Colgate’s Flicker site – Project 13. Prospective students will also have access to two computers that are adjacent to the latter screen.
In listing the challenges in completing such a project, Long mentioned the age of the building, but mostly spoke about the difficulty of completing such an ambitious project in only four months.
Nonetheless, with various partners including a local contractor, design agency, an architectural firm and an interior designer, Colgate was able to accomplish its task according to a demanding deadline.
“I just hope they don’t lose the traditional aspect of Colgate because I was definitely drawn to the old, mature ambiance when I came to the admission center to visit,” first-year Claire Binder said. “So long as the Center strikes a balance between the traditional and the modern, I think the renovation will be to Colgate’s benefit.”
In response to Binder’s concern, Long points to several parts of the building that emulate the traditional experience of Colgate, including the architectural detail that was not altered during renovations and the bold, familiar staircase.
Although the admissions team is still moving into the building, Long welcomes students to stop by toward the end of the month, enjoy the new technology and, of course, grab a chipwich on the way out.
Contact Natalie Pudalov at [email protected]