The flurry of activity
taking place in the center of campus, when completed, will reveal a two-story, 5,700-square-foot addition behind a new Main-Circle façade for the Wooldridge building and the much-anticipated Center for Immersive Experience & Design, which is the signature project of Marist’s STEAM 2.0 initiative
. Designed by Brian Dempsey of Freespace Architecture and managed by Hannan Construction, the project is on schedule despite the challenges COVID-19 has presented.
Even though they have not been able to witness the construction firsthand while completing their 2019-2020 academic year virtually, Marist students are looking forward to the new space. In the May 7 final broadcast
of the Marist Broadcasting Club (MBC), which was virtual as opposed to live, anchor Anne Crawford ’20 commented, “This is the last broadcast of this chapter of MBC. Next year, we’ll relocate to somewhere in the new Wooldridge renovation with a brand new broadcast studio.”
The new broadcast studio is only one of many exciting features of the new Center for Immersive Experience & Design. With a flexible layout, the Center will change how students learn, offering innovative and immersive types of experiences that will challenge students to solve problems in a way that will make the world a better place. Robotics, engineering, 3D design and printing, media studies, podcasting, broadcasting, documentary filmmaking, and music technology will all be located in the Center, allowing for a level of student and faculty collaboration that is unprecedented. An open, flexible space will provide a site for exploratory and experiential learning and virtual reality simulations.
Construction on the addition to the Wooldridge building began in February, shortly before students left for spring break. The addition will house a new admissions office and a lobby atrium for student exhibits as well as collaborative learning spaces and the Father Colin Conference Room. Interior work on the Center itself was to have begun in mid-June; however, since students have not returned to campus this spring because of the novel coronavirus, the Center construction began weeks earlier. The entire bottom floor of the Wooldridge building has been gutted to create the new Center.
The Wooldridge addition and the new Center, both of which were funded by a grant from The Goizueta Foundation and capital funds from Marist, will be ready to open in August for the 2020-2021 academic year.
Jim Byrne ’83, vice president for enrollment & operations, says, “The new admissions office right off the Main Circle will be an easy-to-find destination for prospective families, while the activities of the new Center for Immersive Experience & Design will provide an inviting glimpse into the interdisciplinary and collaborative educational experience their children would receive at Marist School.”
Simply said, walking into the redesigned bottom floor of the Wooldridge building, prospective families, students, and faculty alike will be immediately immersed in learning.