The existing Rockefeller Arts Center was designed and built as part of the massive construction projects in the late 1960s that gave the Fredonia campus its distinctive architectural form. Founding Partner I. M. Pei of I. M. Pei & Partners Architects developed the campus master plan that included academic, administrative, and campus housing buildings that had served the campus and students well for many years. In recent years, both programmatic academic changes and increased student enrollment made the need for additional teaching space very plain.
As a result, approximately 40,000 square feet of teaching space and faculty offices will be gained through the two-story addition and renovation of existing spaces. The project will bring nearly all programs in the Department of Visual Arts and New Media and the Department of Theatre and Dance under one roof. Planning for the long anticipated project commenced in late 2009 and is currently budgeted at approximately $39,000,000. After completion of the design and pre-bid phases, the project went to bid in December 2013. As a result of that bid process through the SUNY Construction Fund, the construction firm Northland Associates, Inc. of Liverpool, NY was selected as the general contractor for the overall project. The project broke ground in early May 2014 and will be done in two phases. The first will be the construction of the building addition, which is expected to take two years. Following that, renovation of existing spaces to meet new needs is expected to last approximately eight months. Project completion is expected for the start of school in August 2016.