Newhouse School facilities offer top technology, modern learning environments

By Emily Kulkus

July 11, 2016

Students thrive in Newhouse's labs, studios, flex classrooms, collaborative work spaces and more

Facilities slideshow

The decision to attend the Newhouse School at Syracuse University is made with great care, consideration and attention to detail. Students and alumni know that the Newhouse experience shapes their lives and careers in profound ways. The three buildings that house Newhouse were created the same way—with careful consideration given to student and faculty needs, industry trends and learning possibilities. 

During the last decade, Newhouse has undergone two massive facelifts: first with the $15 million construction of Newhouse 3, which was dedicated in 2007, and then with the $18 million renovation of Newhouse 2, dedicated in 2014. The recent renovation created the Newhouse Studio & Innovation Center featuring Dick Clark Studios and the Alan Gerry Center for Media Innovation. 

The three unique buildings that comprise the Newhouse School each make a statement on campus: Newhouse 1 is the work of world-famous architect I.M. Pei, Newhouse 2 features a two-story glass lobby with a bright orange interior wall and Newhouse 3 features a soaring curved glass facade emblazoned with the First Amendment.

Any good Newhouse tour guide concedes that navigating these three distinct buildings can sometimes be confusing. All three buildings are connected to one another but Newhouse 1 is square, Newhouse 2 is a rectangle and Newhouse 3 is long and curvy. They each have a different number of stories, some of which descend several floors underground.

But the complexity of its corridors is also what makes Newhouse special. Its spaces offer countless opportunities for dynamic learning: flexible classrooms; computer labs with editing, production and creative software; a working newsroom; TV and production studios; and collaborative or quiet workspaces for students, to name a few.

When Newhouse 3 was built, it was an opportunity to rethink some existing spaces, particularly Food.com, which sells food and drinks during the school year. Food.com is the official crossroads of the three Newhouse buildings and features ample seating for students to eat, socialize or work on group projects.

“We purposefully created some social nooks and collaborative spaces near Food.com in the middle of all three buildings and created this social heart to the complex,” says Susan Nash, director of administration at Newhouse. “That space is always available to work in or to hang out in between classes. That element of life within the building has created an environment that’s different from when we just had hallways. There wasn’t really any place to live in the building before.”

Nash is a frequent Newhouse tour guide. Her responsibilities include highlighting in-house technology, educating visitors about the school’s history and lately, reminding people to believe their eyes.

“Between the new studio and innovation lab I can see people’s jaws drop,” she says. The Diane and Bob Miron Digital News Center for example, features a working newscast set, camera equipment and control room comparable to any high-end television newsroom in the country, Nash says.

Another Newhouse space that Nash enjoys showing off is the professional photography studio in Newhouse 1. Students taking photo classes at Newhouse can reserve the 1,934-square-foot studio with cathedral ceilings that features professional lighting equipment for a variety of projects.

Nash coordinated the design and planning process for Newhouse 3 and oversaw the Newhouse 2 renovation plans as well. Planning involved input from students and faculty, focus groups, feasibility studies and collaboration with architects and engineers. If the planners’ goal was to design spaces that would get lots of use, then mission accomplished.

The Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium in Newhouse 3, for example, can seat about 325 people and hosts hundreds of events each year. The elevated seating also folds up into the wall, opening up the floor of “The Herg” for table seating, computer desks or large-scale general audience gatherings.

Prominent dedications

As more and more industries move toward a digital workflow, so too does the Newhouse School. No one knows that better than Brian Tibbens, director of information technology at Newhouse. Tibbens is responsible for all of the hardware and software used by Newhouse students, faculty and staff. For a school that specializes in media—that’s a lot of stuff. He also oversees The Cage, which is the Newhouse School’s library of video, photography, sound and lighting equipment; students may check out equipment for class assignments.

“The Cage is a multi-million-dollar facility,” Tibbens says, “and we cycle that inventory every four to six years.” 

The same goes for the school’s 800 computers, hundreds of which are available for student use nearly 24 hours a day.

“We cover everything from simple word processing to high-end 4K video production to autonomous videography and drones, and everything else in between,” Tibbens says.

The Newhouse School’s facilities play a big role in its status as one of the best communications schools in the country.

“When people see our facilities they are really impressed with the top-notch, professional-level skill development we can support,” Nash says. “Facilities do matter.”

 

Emily Kulkus is the web content editor at the Newhouse School. Contact her at eakulkus@syr.edu. 

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