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(July 19, 2010) Among the many summer construction projects under way at New College of Florida this summer is the renovation of the Hamilton Student Center, located on the College’s East Campus.  Designed by renowned architect I.M. Pei and opened in the mid-1960s, this hub of student life is being updated and modernized for the 21st century, while at the same time respecting the integrity of its original design and intention as an inviting gathering space for students.

The most significant undertaking at Hamilton Center is the creation of a new Black Box Theater. The flexible space will seat approximately 75 people and will have its own control booth for sound and lighting. Movable stage platforms will make it possible to adapt the space in a number of configurations, from seating in the round to conventional theater-style. True to its name, the windowless space offers the opportunity to present works in near-total darkness. Intended first and foremost as a creative space for students, the theater will be used selectively for public events, including New Music New College.  The theater lobby incorporates a new art gallery space in-the-round for displaying student work.

The renovated student center also will include new tech and meeting rooms, a band room, and student government and support staff offices. The front entry will lead into a versatile vestibule/game room/mailbox station room, transforming what was once a non-purposed area into a lively space for student interaction. The student cafeteria remains essentially unchanged.

The architect of record for the project is Elements, a full service architecture and interior design firm located in Tampa and Miami, Florida.  The focus of the firm’s work is on diverse, technically demanding and design-oriented commissions ranging from education to banking, hospitality, residential and beyond. Other education clients include Miami Dade College, South Florida Community College and the University of South Florida’s Tampa and St. Petersburg campuses.

Construction manager is W.G. Mills, which built the College’s five new residence halls in 2007.  With seven offices throughout the state of Florida and expansion into North Carolina and Georgia, the firm’s portfolio of higher education facilities includes the University of South Florida’s academic building in Sarasota; St. Petersburg College’s natural science and math building in Clearwater, State College of Florida’s student union renovations in Bradenton, and the University of South Florida’s alumni center in Tampa.

The construction budget for the Hamilton Center project is $1.25 million, with funding provided through the state’s Public Education Capital Outlay (PECO) program. PECO began in 1963 as a primary source of state capital outlay funding for Florida’s school districts, community colleges and the State University System.

New College’s Hamilton Center renovations are expected to be completed by the time students arrive back on campus for the fall 2010 semester in mid-August.

For more information, please contact Linda Joffe in the Office of Public Affairs at (941) 487-4154 or email ljoffe@ncf.edu.