When SUNY Buffalo State’s Caudell Hall opened in 1962, it served students pursuing careers in home economics education and, naturally, included teaching kitchens and sewing rooms.
Over time, the departments of Fashion and Textile Technology (FTT), Hospitality and Tourism, Dietetics and Nutrition all resided in Caudell as program offerings and career opportunities broadened. Meanwhile, the Speech-Language Pathology Department spun off from Exceptional Education to join the School of The Professions and its clinic moved to Caudell.
But through the years, space grew tighter, the facilities and equipment became outdated, and the building’s layout didn’t lend itself to collaboration between departments.
That is all in the process of changing.
A state-funded, $21.2 million, critical maintenance project that began this summer will result in a significantly updated and aesthetically pleasing Caudell, which is expected to reopen in late 2016. When the 2017 spring semester begins, students, faculty, and staff within hospitality and tourism, dietetics and nutrition, speech-language pathology, and social work, will step inside a refurbished and renovated building. FTT already moved to the new Technology Building in 2013.
It wasn’t just aesthetics and a desire for reconfigured space that drove the renovation.
“Like most recent projects that we’ve undertaken on campus, there were many justifications.” said Steve Shaffer, Buffalo State’s facilities planning manager. “The mechanical and electrical systems needed updating, the exterior wall systems were thermally inefficient, and the spaces no longer met the needs of the academic programs.”
Along with gaining a new roof, the building’s exterior is being re-clad with aluminum, glass, and terra cotta panels. Inside, the central corridor will be moved to the west side of the building, allowing natural light to spill into public spaces and classrooms. Also, the reconfiguration will create a state-of-the-art food lab and a catering kitchen visible from the lobby for students and visitors to see cooking demonstrations.
In keeping with the School of The Profession’s mission, the renovated space is expected to encourage cross-discipline collaboration.
“All four programs located in the renovated Caudell Hall are high-demand programs with a human service focus,” said Rita Zientek, interim dean for the School of The Professions. “The speech-language pathology program and dietetics and nutrition program prepare professionals to work in hospitals, clinics, schools, and other settings. Locating the social work program, the largest undergraduate social work program within SUNY, into Caudell provides an opportunity for collaboration among students and faculty that has the potential to greatly enhance the educational experience.”
While previously, dietetics and nutrition shared a food lab with the hospitality program, in the renovation, dietetics will enjoy a larger, more sophisticated food lab designated solely for its needs, along with an expanded computer lab, and a nutrition education counseling lab.
Meanwhile, speech-language pathology will have enhanced research and speech and hearing testing labs, with state-of-the-art equipment for use with its clients. And the social work’s faculty offices and classrooms will inhabit space created by the renovation and the relocation of FTT.
The revamped building should contribute to the recruitment of students to already popular programs. For instance, hospitality and tourism added a culinary concentration in 2012 with an eye toward the new facility.
“In the past, students would go to a two-year school or culinary school before coming to us for the administrative side of hospitality,” Zientek said. “Now, we can offer the whole piece for students interested in becoming chefs and/or restaurant owners.”
While Caudell undergoes the much-anticipated transformation, its occupants will hold class and use offices and kitchen facilities in Buckham Hall.