|Five years ago, RIT was a very different place.
A venerable fixture of RIT’s housing program, Riverknoll has been home to students for 40 years. While RIT announced its intentions in 2007 to replace the aging complex, changing plans have led to some confusion over Riverknoll’s fate
According to Mary Niedermaier, executive director for Facility and Retail Operations, there are no current plans to demolish Riverknoll. Instead, the aging housing complex will remain open for at least another two to three years.
According to Niedermaier, while the Institute had explored the possibility of demolishing Riverknoll in its entirety, there were no concrete plans for a replacement. “It didn’t make sense to take that complex offline without a specific plan for what was to go in its place,” she said.
Plans to replace the aging units, built in 1971 as temporary housing, were announced in mid 2007 by Senior Vice President for Finance and Administrator Dr. James Watters. During summer 2008, a portion of the complex near Crossroads and Golisano Hall (GOL, 70) was demolished to make room for Global Village. During this process, 223 of the 664 bedrooms in Riverknoll were demolished, mostly in the form of one and two bedroom apartment units.
Further plans for a second phase of Global Village also led to speculation over Riverknoll’s fate. Slides from a May 8, 2008 presentation by transportation planning firm Martin/Alexiou/Bryson anticipated 700 additional parking spaces for the second phase of Global Village, which was planned to open in 2014 and eventually replace Riverknoll. However, according to Niedermaier, no specific plans for the project were ever finalized. “Beyond those initial units that were demolished, there was never a schedule in place for the remaining demolition,” she said. “There was never a plan to demolish the entire complex at that point in time.”
In November 2009, certain Riverknoll residents received a message from Housing Operations stating that their units were to be taken offline for the following academic year, although a January 2010 email later reversed this decision. The question of Riverknoll’s fate resurfaced again last spring, when a Sunday March 27 fire in apartment 99 generated concern over the complex’s safety.
For many residents, however, Riverknoll retains its unique charm. According to Niedermaier, another deciding factor was student affection for the complex. “Students actually love Riverknoll, despite what some may say,” she said. “When we have a complex that students like, for whatever reason, we don’t want to take that away from them.”
Currently, Niedermaier is working to update Riverknoll by revisiting a project to incorporate wireless internet within the complex. For now, it seems Riverknoll isn’t going anywhere; instead, it’s adapting as part of a constantly changing campus.
WITR STUDIO UPGRADES
In September of 2008, WITR received a $50,000 upgrade to their broadcast infrastructure, making it one of the most technologically advanced professional radio stations in the greater Rochester area. The upgrade was completed by students and included a new main broadcast console, multiple remodeled studios and general equipment upgrades. The entire core of the station was removed and replaced by a new audio transport system, which allows the station to stream high quality audio over their network.
Two years after the completion of these upgrades, WITR decided to go in a new direction with the proposal of “Studio X.” The new studio is supposed to be located upstairs in the lobby of the Student Alumni Union and would feature a glass front that would let passersby look in on the DJ process. It’s part of WITR’s initiative to become more visible to the student body.
On March 18, the station received approval from Student Government for an undecided amount of funds to be put towards the architectural drawing plans for the new studio, which would cost $17,400. The station still needed $5,400 for the plans after a donation from the Center for Campus Life in March. Studio X was originally planned to be in the location where Nathan’s Soups and Salads is currently located. The projected total cost to install the new studio is $206,900.