New buildings garner praise from students

A week into the semester, students and faculty share their responses to Alter Hall and the Tyler School of Art building.

Art and business school students are being treated to new facilities. The opening of the new Tyler School of Art building is marking the end of Tyler’s move to Main Campus. Alter Hall, the new home of the Fox School of Business, is equipped with the latest technology.

Space, natural lighting and improved equipment are getting students and faculty excited about the new Tyler School of Art building.

The Spring 2009 semester marks the birth of education at this $76.4 million project.

Tyler students Nick Barbee and Holly Dixon stand in one of the painting studios designed specifically to let in northern light essential for painting (Bethany Barton/TTN).

It is a dramatic change from Tyler’s Elkins Park campus, which was about 30 minutes north of Main Campus in the suburbs and said to be deteriorating.

Professor Kathryn Murken of the Tyler Foundation department described the new building as “slick, clean, modern and organized.” She said it has “astronomical differences in improvement.”

Murken said the building allows her to teach more effectively with slideshows and other technological components.

The relocation will also encourage art students to be more involved on Main Campus.

“It’s so nice to have, within walking distance, two libraries and the food trucks,” said Michael Gnad, glass technician and 2003 alumnus.

Many difficulties arose in the past for art students due to the distance between the Elkins Park campus and the city. Tyler students were limited in the classes they could take on Main Campus and had a longer commute to the art community of the city.

There is a greater variety of art classes for non-bachelor of fine arts majors, as well as more classes for art students on Main Campus. Film and media arts and music majors will have better interaction with the rest of the art community now.

Since more integration among the art students can occur, Daniel Cutrone, assistant professor of glass, said students can hold onto their concepts and explore them in new ways.

Advancements in the glass program include the capability to increase the use of hot casting and a better-insulated cold room.

“We’ve expanded out from two to three furnaces, the capacity has doubled,” Gnad said. “We’ve gone from a little garage to 9,000 square feet.”

The top floor is dedicated to the painters. Their classrooms and suites face the north for indirect light that shines through gigantic windows. Although there are enormous rooms that give the artists plenty of space to create larger projects, some students said the exit doors are too small for them to pass through. They also said the absence of plywood in the walls makes heavy artwork difficult to hang.

“It feels like I’m living in a Sims game,” said Holly Dixon, a junior painting major.

Dixon said she appreciates the opportunity to interact with students on Main Campus and the space to accommodate more majors.

Aside from the minor flaws, painting majors no longer attend lectures in a barn or work without ventilation in an outdated building.

Students now learn in smart classrooms with easy access to workshops. A gallery will soon open in the building.

Printmaking majors appear to be pleased, as well.

“The old space was like going back to the Stone Age,” said graduate printmaking student Dustin Campbell. “Everything is new here. Everything is at our disposal. The fibers are next door. I graduate in May, and I wish I had another year here.”

Justin Renninger, a senior graphic design major, complimented the larger amount of computers and binding materials. Designated workrooms were important to him because they allow for a more peaceful work environment than those at the old campus.

“Overall, people are excited to be here. It’s a good move,” said graduate painting student Nick Barbee. “We finally have stuff like the TECH Center and libraries.”

Alter Hall
The Fox School of Business’ newest facility, Alter Hall, has eight floors and 217,000 square feet of sophistication, technology and professionalism, all priced at $79 million.

“The building reminds me of CNN’s headquarters,” said Steven Jones, a senior business management major.

“It feels like you’re in a stock exchange building,” said Yelena Glukhovsky, a junior management information system major.

With the nation’s longest elliptical stock ticker, an enormous screen displaying the latest business news and many other informative features, Alter Hall resembles a building on Wall Street.

Though the building has a business-like environment, it is a place of study.

The atrium of the new Alter Hall building awaits installation of paneling and a new sculpture (Nic Lukehart/TTN).

“I like the smart classrooms. The breakout rooms look very useful,” said human resource management professor Steven Edelson. “They’re equipped with computers and monitors, so [students] don’t have to bring their laptops. It’s also good for group work.”

Edelson said he enjoyed the comfortable seating, which he said is a major difference from the old classroom seating found in “third grade classrooms.” Edelson added he enjoys the “ability to bring various media to the classroom.”

Jennifer Lyons, who is an adjunct professor in the statistics department and a student in an MBA program, appreciates the new building from an instructor’s and student’s perspective.

In comparison to the Center City campus, where she used to study, Lyons said Alter Hall is more aesthetically pleasing because it has better lighting and accessibility. She said the stadium-style seating in the classrooms is great because “every seat is a good seat.”

“I can put notes and definitions on the screen and on the board,” she said about the technology features in her pre-calculus class.

Alter Hall has many aesthetic features, from its stone walls decorated with engravings to murals that are currently being painted. Bulls appear in the engravings to mark the hope of a better market for these business students.

Jena Bandini, assistant director of the Center for Student Professional Development, likes the developing mural her office overlooks. Her location is also adjacent to the student lounge with the ticker tape.

“I appreciate the student lounge. It’s always packed,” Bandini said. “I know Alter Hall is just going to get better.”

Leonard Qualtiere, a senior human resource management major, is a fan of the ticker.

“I’m on the job hunt, so the ticker is allowing me to keep an eye on different stocks,” Qualtiere said.
There are only a handful of dislikes about the new building.

Andrey Kiselev, a junior marketing major, complained about the lack of computers. He said there aren’t computers in the labs and that he has to travel to an inconvenient location to access them.

“Room numbers are confusing – there are a bunch of rooms on one side and only one on the other,” said Stella Kasparova, a senior legal studies major.

She said she appreciates the building overall, especially that Class Capture is in every room and even students’ voices can be heard.

Arty Kern can be reached at

1 Comment

  1. The architecture of this new building looks like it is going to be amazing. I hope that the students that are going to be fortunate enough to get to use it realize how lucky they are.

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