SHU Breaks Ground on New Academic Building

At the groundbreaking are, from left, James T. Morley, chairman of SHU's board of trustees, President John J. Petillo, outgoing Student Government President Mia James, incoming Student Government President Lauren Kalil, Welch College of Business Dean John Chalykoff, College of Arts and Sciences Dean Seamus Carey and Provost Laura Niesen de Abruna.

News Story: May 7, 2013

Sacred Heart University broke ground Tuesday, May 7, on the largest new academic building in the school’s 50-year history. Located on the corner of Park and Jefferson Streets, the 125,000-square-foot structure will house the John F. Welch College of Business and the Department of Communication & Media Studies – one of Sacred Heart’s fastest-growing programs.

“This is an exciting time for the University. This building represents our growth and our commitment to provide our students with state-of-the-art facilities and equipment. It is especially fitting as we approach the 50th anniversary of the University that we are able to successfully meld our past with the future and provide a strong liberal arts education enhanced by the technological advances of the 21st century,” said University President John J. Petillo.

“The College of Business has outgrown its current location on the second floor of Roncalli Hall and is ready to begin a new chapter,” said John Chalykoff, dean of the College. Chalykoff is particularly excited about the active trading floor that is planned for the building.

“We are pleased to be moving into a new facility for the Welch College that will bring together faculty, staff and students in one location. It will allow for the creation of new and innovative educational experiences and facilitate research and novel pedagogy,” Chalykoff said. “The building is designed, through smart classrooms, interactive labs and open spaces, to foster engaged learning – high levels of interaction between students, faculty and the world beyond. For us, this is not merely a new building; it is the start of a new and exciting chapter in the educational mission of the Welch College of Business.”

The Department of Communication & Media Studies’ new home will include two large studios for television, video and film production, as well as industry-standard post-production facilities, screening venues and multimedia classrooms. Communication & media students will also benefit from new spaces for the student-produced newspaper, radio station and television programs.

“These spaces will benefit the entire University by facilitating the production of digital content across programs and departments, and we look forward to partnering with our colleagues in the digital humanities, business, advertising, graphic design, health communication, instructional technology, sport management, the performing arts, athletic communication, media literacy education and other fields,” said Debbie Danowski, chair of the Department of Communication & Media Studies. “As a department, we have seen tremendous growth over the last few years, including the introduction of several new graduate programs and a new undergraduate major. Enrollment in some of our programs is more than double what we anticipated. Our new facilities will allow us to better serve both our current and future students by providing them with state-of-the-art equipment that will make them more competitive in the job market.  We are very excited that the University has given us this opportunity.”

“Given SHU’s proximity to New York City, the media capital of the world, our robust internship program and accomplished faculty who have been recognized nationally for their teaching, scholarship, creative work and service, the addition of these facilities will allow us to become a leader in the Northeast in communication and media studies at the undergraduate and graduate levels,” added James Castonguay, founding chair of the department and current director of the MACOMM graduate program. “Over the past decade, communication & media studies at SHU has grown from being a small major housed within the English program to one of the largest departments in the College of Arts and Sciences. This growth reflects the increased importance and presence of digital media and communication technologies not only within higher education but to our global culture.”

The three-level building will also house a new Center of Excellence for Pedagogy – a super interactive classroom for training professors on the most up-to-date tools and processes.

Other features of the building include a two-story atrium; multi-media forum for leadership institutes, lectures and screenings; satellite-equipped classrooms for interaction with other University campuses; film screening and editing rooms; classrooms for use by the entire University; faculty offices; conference rooms and lounges for meetings between faculty and students; a café; and elegant landscaping infused with walking paths and benches for informal meetings.

“It will be a vibrant working space where students will collaborate with faculty and each other in the production of TV, radio and print,” Petillo added. He said the new building is the cornerstone of a $30 million, five-year campaign that the University has launched. “We hope people will get excited about this opportunity to help provide a top-level education for our students where they can learn using the same kind of equipment and in the same kind of settings that they will experience when they start their careers after graduation. This building will bring continued vitality to campus by giving the College of Business and the Communications & Media Studies program the needed space and equipment for continued growth, while also providing critically needed academic learning space for all students.”

The building has been designed by Sasaki Associates – the same firm that designed the University’s award-winning Chapel of the Holy Spirit and Linda E. McMahon Commons. It will incorporate the latest in HVAC technologies and efficiencies and energy-saving lighting.

“In its prominent location, it will be a gateway to campus for those exiting the Merritt Parkway – welcoming them to Sacred Heart where tradition and modern innovation combine to provide our students with unique educational experiences,” Petillo said. Plans call for the building to be completed by the end of 2014.
To view photos from the event, click here. To watch a video the groundbreaking, click here. Renderings of the building can be found here.  To watch the live Work Zone Camera, click here

Want to learn more about our other new facilities on campus? Click here.

If you are unable to view the photo gallery below, click here.