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March 02, 2016

University receives $2.5 million grant for Frederick Douglass Building renovations

New York State’s Higher Education Capital Matching Grant Program (HECap) is providing $2.5 million to the University for renovations to the Frederick Douglass Building.

HECap capital grants totaling more than $4 million were announced for renovations at the University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, Nazareth College and St. John Fisher College. The grant program, established in 2005, is financed through the Dormitory Authority of New York State and funds capital projects for independent private colleges in New York. For every $1 in state matching funds, independent colleges and universities must provide $3 in support of their projects.

“I’d like to thank New York State and our local government leaders for making this HECap matching fund available for the Frederick Douglass Buildings renovations,” says Holly Crawford, senior vice president for administration and finance and CFO. “The reinvention of space in the Frederick Douglass building will create significant social and educational benefits for students and University community members by providing new, flexible space for multicultural programming and learning, as well as modernize the last of our River Campus student dining centers.”

The renovated building is expected to become another major student hub on campus with new dedicated student gathering space and a state-of-the-art dining facility. It will also be home to the recently established Paul J. Burgett Intercultural Center and a new Language Center.

The Frederick Douglass Building, built in the 1950s and named for Rochester’s national leader in the abolitionist movement, is the only River Campus facility that has not been renovated or built in the last 10 years. Work has begun on the renovations, which are being done in phases and expected to be complete by August 2016.

The renovated building will provide modernized, multipurpose space. With more than 250 student groups on campus, the reconfigured and more flexible spaces will allow groups to host speakers, programs, and other activities organized for and by students.

The new dining facility is a major overhaul of the current dining center. The reinvented dining space, moved to the first floor of the building, will offer a micro-restaurant style of dining with whole meal or smaller made-to-order options from new food stations. It will also include a kosher kitchen, stations that meet specific food allergy needs, and a more flexible, scaled operation.

The Burgett Center’s location in the Frederick Douglass Building will allow for greater intercultural programming with new seminar rooms, a resource center, exhibition gallery, and access to the kitchen and dining area. The center promotes cultural awareness and engagement; educated on issues of culture and diversity; and provides opportunities for collaboration among faculty, staff, and students.

The Language Center is envisioned as a vibrant international environment that will attract language learners, native speakers and heritage speakers and will augment the more than 20 global cultural student organizations that have limited visibility and resources. It will provide technology and support for language learning; scholarship, teaching, and research; as well as newspapers, books, and magazines from around the world; access to international news broadcasts and radio stations; and regular “programmed coffee hours” for the various languages offered.

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