David Dimond, Monroe College Vice President and New Rochelle Campus Dean, and Stephen Schultheis, Dean of Student Services, prepare to welcome students to Gaddy Hall, in front of the newly-installed sign, September 2014.
Installed ten years earlier at the time of Allison Hall completion.
The opening of Gaddy Hall for students this week is important simply as the opening of a new dormitory—which it is. Or as the opening of the new home of the college’s School of Business & Accounting—which it is as well. Or because important outdoor space, study areas, and other common areas are part of the new building—which they most definitely are! Or even because it was built in only 15 months by Holt Construction—coinciding with one of the harshest winters we can remember. But the opening of the building represents a milestone in the development of Monroe’s downtown New Rochelle campus for many other reasons as well.
With the opening of Gaddy Hall, Monroe completes their development of a trio of buildings—one adaptive re-use, two new structures, all three designed by Doban Architecture–on the one-acre “Librett’s site,” which takes its name from the former hardware store that once occupied the middle building of the complex, now known as Milavec Hall. That 24,000 square foot hardware store was transformed into Milavec in 2002, and was envisioned as a one-story gate to span between the two six- story buildings that would eventually adjoin it on either side, almost—but not quite–like bookends. In 2004, the first new building on the site, the dormitory known as Allison Hall, was constructed to the east of Milavec. And today it is joined by a second new building, the 92,000 square foot mixed use building, Gaddy Hall.
Gaddy Hall has an iconographic presence and is now a visual marker for the entire Monroe campus, which is organized along the east side of Main Street/US Route 1. The north stair tower serves as a backdrop for a prominent “MONROE” sign which is visible from upper Main Street and helps visually link the Librett’s site to the rest of the campus and the downtown.
Gaddy is the built manifestation of the college’s philosophy of housing administrative and classroom uses in a single facility to promote supportive interaction, taking it a step further to include residence hall, lounge space, and a study facility in one building. Our earlier projects such as the Academic Center, were designed to bring students and faculty together for informal dialogue as well as tutoring; the design of the King School of Graduate Studies incorporated offices in close proximity to classrooms. Gaddy takes this one step further with its mix of uses.
Last but not least, the building is a testimony to the college’s dedication to building an urban main street campus through carefully orchestrated incremental development in the downtown. The New Rochelle campus was established in 1983 with a series of renovated storefronts. In the past decade projects have included conversion of a former auto repair shop to a state-of-the-art culinary arts facility, creation of a student-staffed dining facility, as well as smaller-scale interventions along Main Street.
We are proud to participate in the creation of this campus on Main Street, and appreciate the efforts of the entire project team. We are excited for students to move in and look forward to the start of classes—in the same building—next week!