Source: LeChase Hall: 100 Days Countdown (www.warner.
Raymond F. LeChase Hall, the first dedicated home for the Warner School, opens this week.
Named in memory of the late Raymond F. LeChase—the founder of the Rochester firm LeChase Construction Services, a noted philanthropist, and dedicated supporter of education—the building provides space for all of Warner’s faculty and students.
LeChase Hall features facilities such as a “methods” classroom where instructional approaches can be demonstrated to prospective teachers; a technology center available to students 24 hours a day, seven days a week; community spaces for school and campus events; and designated work space for the school’s more than 600 full- and part-time graduate students. It is the first new building on the Wilson Quadrangle in 30 years.
The building represents an important step toward building the school’s identity and visibility, says Raffaella Borasi, Warner School dean who also holds the Frederica Warner Professorship.
“The symbolic aspect is very important,” she says. “It’s having something that our students, faculty, and staff can identify with, and that the rest of the University and the rest of the community can point to and have a reference for.
“But what is most exciting to me are the different things that this new space will allow us to do—which is developing a greater sense of community and encouraging more collaboration among faculty, staff and students, having specialized facilities that will allow us to better prepare teachers and counselors, and making it possible to expand in some new exciting directions identified as promising in our strategic plan.”
A cornerstone of Warner’s strategic plan since fall 2005, the project got under way in spring 2011, thanks to a $3.5 million commitment from R. Wayne LeChase—a University trustee, chairman of LeChase Construction, and Raymond LeChase’s son—and his wife, Beverly.
Designed by the architectural firm Bergmann Associates of Rochester in collaboration with SHW Group, a Michigan firm with extensive background in designing creative learning environments, the building is designed to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) silver standards.
The four-story building is unified by a three-story atrium named in honor of Robin and Timothy Wentworth, parents of a graduate and a current freshman at the University. On the first floor, a suite of 14 classrooms will be used by both the College and the Warner School. The upper floors will house Warner School programs, including additional specialized classrooms, offices, and spaces specifically designed to support the preparation and development of educators and to conduct educational research and reform work.
While the building will be formally dedicated in May, the additional space will be immediately noticed on campus as students dive into the spring 2013 semester. The first-floor classrooms will be used by classes in the College during the day; in the evenings and weekends, Warner School classes take over. Altogether, about 3,000 students taking roughly 100 courses will use the classrooms every day.